DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng told the warring factions in the party’s Perak chapter to close ranks after today’s polls and concentrate on recapturing the state in the next general election.
Lim, who opened the polls this morning, reminded party members to keep their sights set on the bigger picture and unite under the common goal of helping Pakatan Rakyat (PR) regain Perak from Barisan Nasional (BN).
“Two years ago, at the last Perak Ordinary Convention, it was at that moment in time, that we were celebrating the achievement of being a partner in power with winning the Perak government. But now, Perak voters have lost their freedom to elect their government following the coup d’état that negated the people’s mandate.
“But I believe that two years again into the future, we will return this power. This is the responsibility of all members, to ensure that Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin is reinstated as the Perak mentri besar,” he said in his opening address.Perak DAP was at the forefront of PR’s success in wresting Perak from BN during Election 2008, when it swept all the 18 state seats it had contested. PKR won in seven state seats while PAS took six, earning the three opposition parties a majority of 31 seats to BN’s 28.
Due to the subsequent defections of three PR representatives — two from PKR and one from DAP — the state fell back into BN’s hands in February 2009.
Since then, another DAP representative has deserted the party to turn independent, leaving DAP with 16 state seats to its name.
In a press conference later, Lim expressed hope that both feuding factions in Perak DAP would close ranks following today’s polls, regardless of the results.
“As we said, we want to come up as a team, a cohesive team that is in concert with the aspirations of the people,” he said.
Today’s state polls is said to be a crucial test for the Perak DAP leadership, which has been split between two factions headed by the Ngeh-Nga cousins and M. Kulasegaran respectively.
It is, however, believed that the cousins — incumbent state DAP chairman Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham and secretary Nga Kor Ming — will likely be re-elected into one of the 15 posts in the state committee once the polls close today.
The cousins have been at loggerheads with Kulasegaran and his loyalists over several leadership issues, including the formation of branches in the state and the alleged dictatorial leadership methods employed by the duo.
At the climax of the leadership crisis last month, Kulasegaran caused an uproar when an unsettled dispute with the cousins led him to threaten to quit all his state party posts and expose his grouses in public.
Following intervention from the party’s national leaders, however, Kulasegaran held back on his threat and stayed on in his post, abiding the gag order that the leadership had issued.
Today, however, Lim claimed that no such order had ever existed and insisted that he had merely advised both factions not to air their dirty linen in public.
“No gag order. There was none, none that I am aware of. That was just an advice given by me. All party matters should be resolved internally and it was agreed by both parties so why was it twisted to be a gag order?” he said.
He reiterated the importance for the party leaders to stand together as a team to face the coming general election.
“We want also to honour the memories of those who sacrificed for their dreams so that we can live in ours. So the best way is we must work together,” he said.
Lim also called on the media not to manipulate the issues plaguing Perak DAP, pointing out that it would only serve the interest of their enemies in BN.
“Just let the delegates decide,” he said.
During today’s convention, a total of 78 per cent or 961 delegates of 1,228 delegates were present.
The results of the polls are expected to be announced shortly.