POLITICS: The DAP dilemma


Lim Guan Eng with wife Betty Chew and lawyer Gobind Singh Deo leaving the Jalan Duta Court Complex, July 16, 2021, after the hearing on corruption trial involving the proposed Penang Undersea Tunnel — GLENN GUAN/The Star

SIGH.

That's the collective exasperation of some DAP leaders and supporters over the current political crisis. They are facing a "damned if you do and damned if you don't" situation.

The DAP dilemma is summed up in Damansara MP Tony Pua’s Facebook post a day after Umno retracted its support for the Perikatan Nasional government and the Prime Minister.

On the day of Pua's post, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin did not quit. Instead, the Prime Minister said a motion of confidence would be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat in September.

While it was the best chance to bring down the Prime Minister, the DAP national publicity secretary argued that Umno could take the PM post if Muhyiddin was ousted.

"And when any Umno leader becomes PM, wouldn't all the kleptocrats be set free (or possibly even regain power)?" he wrote.

There's recent precedence in the legal scenario the DAP MP laid out. After Pakatan Harapan came into power, the Attorney General's Chambers under Tan Sri Tommy Thomas withdrew DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng's corruption charges over the alleged conversion of land status and purchase of a bungalow below market value.

According to Pua, the choice was either Umno becoming head honcho in government again and the party further consolidating its political power to emerge even stronger after GE15.

"Or do we think a step ahead to stop the kleptocrats from getting away scot-free, or worse regain political control and power, even if it means tolerating the incompetent and treacherous Perikatan Nasional government in the hot seat just a little while longer," he said.

"This checks Umno, while PH and the rakyat can get rid of Muhyiddin and (Datuk Seri Azmin Ali) in the next GE."

Officially, the DAP's stand on the matter is the Prime Minister and the Cabinet must step down from their position.

Arguably, the best chance for DAP to be back in power is for Pakatan chairman and PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to team up with his former protege Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, the Umno president.

If Pakatan has to work with Umno to form the next government, some DAP leaders prefer to team up with Umno MPs not in the court cluster (leaders facing corruption charges in court).

But these Umno MPs, who are not in the court cluster, have clearly stated, "No Anwar as PM, no DAP".

The irony is some in the Umno court cluster want to work for Anwar to be Prime Minister.

DAP, too, has a court cluster. For example, former Penang chief minister Lim faces a bribery charge related to the RM6.3bil Penang undersea tunnel project.

The court cluster in DAP and Umno might have similar self-interest.

Another option for DAP is to support Muhyiddin via a confidence and supply agreement (CSA) where DAP doesn't join the government but supports a minority government and get certain concessions.

The DAP dilemma is who or which party is the lesser evil.

Sigh!

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