Why is it so difficult to give up a seat?

By Athi Shankar

As a socialist party, the DAP must be just and fair to all and not favour a handful to contest in two seats as a safety net.

PETALING JAYA: Two more DAP grassroots leaders here have rallied behind their party supremo Karpal Singh’s call for a “one man – one seat” electoral formula.

Welcoming the call as “timely and fair” to all party candidates, Pahang vice-chairman J Apalasamy and Taman Gembira branch chairman Ivan Ho Fook Keong also urged all nine party elected representatives who held two seats to heed Karpal’s suggestion and publicly declare their choice of seat.

The duo could not understand why it has been so difficult for the double-hat wearers to scale back on one seat.

Both Apalasamy and Ho said if the elected representatives insisted on contesting double seats in the next polls, it would show that they were selfish and power crazed politicians.

They accused the dual seat holders of wanting to monopolise power and enjoy multiple perks at the expense of majority party members.

“They must put party interests above their selfish interests.

“They should make way for other capable and dynamic party members to contest.

“The party should build for the future,” they told FMT here today.

Penang has the most number of elected representatives who are both MPs and assemblymen.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng is Bagan MP and Air Putih assemblyman, Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy is Batu Kawan MP and Prai assemblyman and the state senior executive councillor and Penang DAP chief Chow Kon Yeow is Tanjung MP and Padang Kota assemblyman.

Other DAP double-hatters are Beruas MP and Sitiawan assemblyman Ngeh Koo Ham, Taiping MP and Pantai Remis assemblyman Nga Kor Ming (Perak); Seputeh MP and Kinrara assemblywoman Teresa Kok Suh Sim (Selangor) and Rasah MP and Lobak assemblyman Anthony Loke Siew Fook (Negeri Sembilan).

In Sarawak state DAP chairman Wong Ho Leng is Sibu MP and Bukit Assek assemblyman while state party secretary Chong Chieng Jen is Bandar Kuching MP and Kota Sentosa assemblyman.

Strong support from grassroots

Last Friday, Karpal who has all along proposed for a one man– one seat formula, called on all double-seat holders to declare that they would only contest a seat in the next polls instead of waiting for the party decide for them.

Under Karpal’s proposal, exemption could be given to the Penang Chief Minister and candidates in Sabah and Sarawak to contest dual seats on a-need-to basis.

Karpal’s call met stinging criticisms from likes of Chow and Teresa Kok. They described the issue as “an old story” and rebuked Karpal for highlighting it in the media.

Supporting Karpal, Apalasamy said it would be an injustice if the party were to favour a handful to contest both federal and state seats as safety nets when majority candidates were going for broke contesting one seat.

He also questioned the need to provide the safety nets to certain politicians.

“Whats so special about them that they must be given two seats? As a socialist party, the DAP must be just and fair to all,” insisted Apalasamy.

He rebuked politicians who want dual seats as safety nets of lacking confidence and at the same time denying another winnable candidate a chance to serve the people.

When these politicians go for double-headers, he said it showed that they lacked confidence in winning either one or both the seats.

Stop being a hypocrite

Ho said the DAP should not be a hypocrite by calling on its rival Barisan Nasional to reform when the party refused to reform within.

Pointing out to BN’s one man-one seat policy, he called on the DAP to drop its outdated policy of allowing certain candidates to contest double seats.

He said complaints had persisted among party members and constituents against under performance of these dual seat holders, who failed to balance out and devote their time and resources fairly for voters.

He said the public moaned that the representatives could not perform effectively as both a parliamentarian and a state representative, and it was worse if the representative was also a state executive councilor.

“Political landscape, needs and demands have changed over the past few years.

“The DAP should transform and reform to meet these changes and, the one man–one seat formula is the right way forward.

“The dual seat holders should see the writing on the wall and heed to the chairman’s call.

“They should step aside and allow others to come in,” insisted Ho, who is a a lawyer by profession. – FMT

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