Hush-hush talks not the way, Johor DAP man tells party

PETALING JAYA: A Johor DAP grassroots leader said the party should have revealed that two of its MPs were discussing reforms with Muhyiddin Yassin’s team before it came out in the open.

Dr Boo Cheng Hau said the move had caused a negative impact on the party’s image and further deepened the “trust deficit” between its leaders and the public.

Boo, who is a Johor state committee member, said following the 1MDB controversy and the defections in Sabah, which led to a tussle for the chief minister’s post, the public had become more wary of under-table political dealings.

“And they will start to question these deals if they think it is some form of horse trading,” he said, adding that he had received complaints from disgruntled members.

The former Johor DAP chief also said that horse trading might not be in the best interest of Pakatan Harapan, DAP and democracy.

He said party members had the right to know what their leaders “were up to”.

On Sunday, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng revealed that the opposition coalition had given the nod to its leaders to speak to their rivals.

This followed a report by Sin Chew Daily that Damansara MP Tony Pua and Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming had helped draft proposals which Muhyiddin had mooted at a press conference on Friday in a bid to keep his administration intact.

In defending the duo, Lim said the report had attempted to paint them in a bad light and told members not to allow such “anti-DAP reports to divide us”.

Boo, however, described the move to hold discussions about reforms with a “failing regime” as “not sensible”.

Political analyst Kenneth Cheng said the episode would not split the party, although it was still too early to say if Pua and Ong would be impacted.

“I think Lim has shielded them by saying they were given the go-ahead,” he said.

Cheng said while it was a divisive move, there was some public support for the proposals.

Oh Ei Sun of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs also did not believe DAP would be divided over the matter.

“In the end, they decided not to take Muhyiddin’s offer,” Oh said.

In any case, he said, there was nothing wrong with speaking to political rivals to explore possibilities. – FMT

by Sean Augustin

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