Malaysia: Stepping out of the ‘Lim dynasty’ shadow

  • While questions linger on whether the Lims still wield influence over the party’s leadership, the new 30-member central executive committee (CEC) is an eclectic mix of party factions, albeit most are aligned to Loke.
  • Loke’s lieutenants include Negeri Sembilan exco member Teo Kok Seong, Selangor exco member Ng Sze Han, Kampar MP Thomas Su, Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng, former organising bureau secretary Vincent Wu and former Skudai assemblyperson Tan Hong Pin.
  • As for Guan Eng, who is now the party chairperson, only a few of his key allies, including his sister Lim Hui Ying and Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim, were elected to the CEC.
  • Long-time Guan Eng allies such as Damansara MP Tony Pua, Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming and Bakri MP Yeo Bee Yin were shockingly defeated in the party election.
  • As chairperson, Guan Eng will head CEC meetings, but executive powers such as appointing election candidates and determining party policy are vested in the secretary-general.
  • Loke had described the new CEC as a new leadership that comprises three generations of DAP figures.
  • As the new secretary-general, he has delegated his previous position of parliamentary chief to Teluk Intan MP Nga Kor Ming and organising secretary to Sim.
  • The “parliamentary chief” is the title for the party’s whip – the enforcer of party discipline on legislative matters – while the organising secretary focuses on internal matters such as the establishment of new branches.
  • This is Sim’s first time in the CEC, and he has already been assigned a vital position in the party, which indicated that the party intends to nurture him intensively.
  • Four days prior to the DAP national congress, Loke uploaded a photo of him with Nga at a dinner, saying they had a “very fruitful and good discussion”, along with the hashtag of #UnityIsOurStrength.
  • This photograph immediately elicited various speculations. Party watchers told Malaysiakini that some within the party were hoping for a “new golden triangle” with Loke as the secretary-general, Gobind Singh Deo as the chairperson and Nga as the deputy chairperson.
  • The idea was to present a DAP leadership without either of the two Lims in the upper echelons. However, according to sources, this plan did not work out because Gobind was not interested in being DAP chairperson – a position once held by his father, Karpal Singh.
  • Although Kit Siang sat out of the CEC election, citing his wish to retire, he was eventually appointed “party mentor”, which some critics viewed as DAP’s inability to break free from the “Lim dynasty”.
  • Party leaders who spoke to Malaysiakini said this appointment should not have come as a surprise as the party had traditionally paid tribute to its most senior members, pointing to the decision to appoint founding member Dr Chen Man Hin as a lifetime advisor.
  • “It is only natural for the party to arrange a position beyond the executive level for Kit Siang for his retirement,” said one party leader.

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