‘Sonrise’ among Indians in Malaysia’s Democratic Action Party

August 22nd, 2008 - 12:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Aug 22 (IANS) Ethnic Indian lawyer-lawmaker Karpal Singh is seeking re-election to the chairmanship of the Democratic Action Party (DAP), where two of his sons are also seeking organisational offices. Lawmaker Gobind Singh Deo, who sits besides his father in Dewan Rakyat (Parliament) and Jagdeep Singh Deo, a state level legislator, are contesting for the first time.

Besides the Singh family, another ethnic Indian seeking re-election as the vice president is M. Kulasegaran, the New Straits Times said Friday as the conclave began.

Election bids by the younger generation of leaders, both among the Chinese and Indians, is a hot issue at the triennial national congress of the DAP, a major opposition party that performed well, winning 23 seats during the March elections and shares power in some of the states.

Malaysia’s 28 million population comprises over 60 percent majority Muslim Malays, 43 percent Chinese and eight percent Indians.

Since this unprecedented success, the party’s membership, that has large proportion of Chinese and Indians, besides the Malays, has gone up from 10,000 to 90,000.

Another potentially hot topic is the ambitions of “baby members” - IT entrepreneur-turned lawmaker Tony Pua, Teo Nie Ching, Hannah Yeoh, Leong Mee Meng, Liew Chin Tong and Ng Wei Aik - all lawmakers seeking seats.

As these “baby members” have been with the party for less than two years, their candidacy could ruffle the feathers of many DAP old guards, the newspaper said.

Noting the changing political mood, it said that for the first time since its founding in 1965, DAP was allowing media coverage of its national congress this weekend.

For the first time in DAP’s history, its triennial national congress will be held in a luxury hotel. Party treasurer Fong Kui Lun said it was “a big deal”, since hotels in the past often shied away from associating themselves with an opposition party.

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