Why Tony Pua’s ouster matters

Opinion  |  James Chai
Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | Tony Pua’s ouster from Selangor DAP central committee is a manifestation of the past and a representation of the future.

It is a manifestation of the past because DAP, for the past 10 years, had not been immune to the vicious internal rivalry between the grassroots leaders and national leaders. The early parachuting of Western-educated national leaders, who were quickly promoted and ascended to centre stage, had courted dissent from the grassroots.

It is human nature for people to feel dissatisfied when you have worked tirelessly without pay for decades, only to see someone else reap the fruits of your labour. This is particularly the case of grassroots members. They turn up at every event, respond to every request, put up every banner, brochure, flag for the party, and some even partake in the dirty but necessary work to help the party to win.

Often they are left in the wilderness as they come because their crasser, cruder, and commoner style seems unsuited for frontline politics. At most, they are given a small party position at a division that matters little.

Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh confirmed that such a struggle exists, and it doesn’t take an expert to know that Pua’s ouster is a manifestation of the struggle coming to a boil.

If Pua had merely lost a chieftain contest, it would be less dramatic than having your party’s national icon being put at the 19th spot of a state central committee election. The grassroots dissent is dramatic and deafening.

This was also part of a larger pattern that saw national leaders being confronted with the opposition from the ground. Liew Chin Tong’s near-defeat as the Johor DAP chairman is one such example...

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