By Clara Chooi, October 06, 2010, KUALA LUMPUR,
Oct 6 — Lim Kit Siang wielded his power as DAP advisor today by urging all Perak party members to unite behind both their squabbling leaders — chairman Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham and his deputy M. Kulasegaran.
The Ipoh Timor MP reminded members today that against all odds, they should stick to their primary goals of restoring Pakatan Rakyat’s power in Perak and help the coalition win Putrajaya in the next general election.
“Perak DAP leaders, branches and members should fully embrace the unity formula in Perak so that Perak DAP can play its full role in ensuring that DAP and PR write history in the state in the next general elections — which is the expectation and aspiration of all Perakians and Malaysians who want to see a new beginning for Malaysia after more than half-a-century of misrule,” he declared in a statement.
Perak DAP’s brewing troubles reached its climax during a special leadership meeting attended by Lim himself last Friday when an angry Kulasegaran threatened to quit his state party post.
Since the debacle exploded in the media however, both disputing parties have attempted to make nice by issuing public apologies to the party for the uproar their quarreling had caused.
Lim took pains to point this out today, noting that in view of the apologies, all party members should take this cue to support the bid for unity.
He explained that on Sunday, two days after Kulasegaran’s outburst, he had sent an SMS to both Ngeh and Kulasegaran saying, “Lets face it. What happened last 36 hrs have caused enormous damage to DAP leaders involved, DAP, PR — only question is who suffer more damage — which is utter madness. Its massive ‘lose-lose’ formula without any redeeming ‘win-win’ element at all. Public opprobrium all around. Nobody can hold head high. Decisive action needed.”
Lim added that the incident reminded him of two quotations about lessons to be learned from history.
One, he said, was from English writer Aldous Huxley who wrote, “That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.”
Another, said Lim, was from Spanish-American philosopher George Santayana who wrote, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
“Perak DAP leaders, branches and members [must] remember these quotations and prove that they are not only mindful of them but would not repeat the Perak DAP history where because of party disunity, it suffered the worst electoral setback in the 1995 general election — reduced to only one state seat after winning four parliamentary seats and 13 state seats in the 1990 general election,” said Lim.
The quarrel between Kulasegaran and Ngeh and his cousin, Perak DAP secretary Nga Kor Ming, has always been an open secret in the party and dates back to even before the 2008 general election.
It gained momentum in recent months however, ahead of the party’s coming state elections scheduled for November 14.
Among other things, their disputes center on Kulasegaran’s dissatisfaction with the duo’s leadership methods and counter-allegations made by both camps on the formation of branches in the state.
On the one hand, Kulasegaran and his men have alleged that both Ngeh and Nga had been opening new branches without receiving endorsement from the state committee while on the other, he has been accused of illegally reviving old branches to shore up support for himself in the coming party elections.
When their bickering reached a boiling point, a unity plan was apparently mooted some three months back, and both camps agreed to set aside their differences for the good of the party.
Friday’s meeting was purportedly aimed at ironing out several issues that had cropped up of late, including the existence of a letter which Kulasegaran’s men have claimed was being used to destroy his popularity among the branches.
When arguments during the meeting failed to reach a settlement, Kulasegaran walked off, threatening to resign his party post.
He later publicised his intention via microblogging site Twitter, earning Ngeh’s disapproval who charged that as a responsible leader, the Ipoh Barat MP should have kept the matter within the confines of the party.
Both men later apologised for the uproar the matter had caused, acknowledging that the party now looked fractured in the eyes of the public.