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LETTER | The missing link of DAP's centre-left ideology

LETTER | DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke Siew Fook has asserted that DAP is not a communist, but instead takes a political approach that practices the doctrine of ‘centre-left’ based on social democratic ideology.

According to Wikipedia, ‘centre-left’ politics is the range of left-wing political ideologies that lean closer to the political centre. Ideologies of the centre-left include social democracy, social liberalism and green politics.

Economically, the centre-left supports a mixed economy in a democratic capitalist system, often including economic interventionism, progressive taxation and the right to unionise.

It can't be denied that the DAP has taken a strong stand against regressive taxation such as GST, but has contradicted itself when it comes to social democracy where the party was seen as elite-driven and condescending.

Party members are only there to vote for party elites during the party convention, without addressing real issues in the party or developing strong grassroot leaders.

Those who dissent within the party are isolated while being willing to accommodate their newfound friends outside of the party.

There was a particular leader who had said that no one is bigger than the party, but I wonder whether the leader understands that good conscience is bigger and better for the party.

Review your ideology, DAP

It is obvious that the current DAP is in deficit when it comes to green politics where its politicians are rarely supportive of environmental causes.

The Penang South reclamation project and the conspicuous silence among its leaders on plans for the proposed forest plantations of 4,280 hectares (about 6,000 football fields) within the Kledang Saiong forest reserve in Perak speaks volumes.

Excluding the former human resources minister, it is rare to see DAP members speaking for freedom of association in regard to the right to unionise.

Therefore, it is time for DAP to review its own ideology and whether it meets the criteria as a social democratic party.

It is commendable that DAP has come to terms with real politics in Malaysia and is willing to take the middle ground while practicing a modicum of good governance in Penang.

However, without activism on critical issues such as labour rights, environmental preservation, nation-building, or standing against neo-liberal economics, its adherence to the centre-left ideology is questionable.

The party might end up being regarded as a mere elitist party that seems comfortable with power.

RONALD BENJAMIN is the secretary for Association for Welfare, Community and Dialogue

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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