Outspoken DAP member Hew Kuan Yau has announced his resignation from the party with immediate effect after brickbats were thrown his way over his post that the South China Sea belongs to China.
“For the big picture of DAP, I have decided to leave the party from today,” he said in a posting on his Facebook page earlier tonight.
Hew, 46, admitted that he had authored the earlier Facebook post that the South China Sea belongs to China, criticising a recent international tribunal decision renouncing Bejing's claim as anti-communist and anti-China.
He added that he would not hide behind tales that his account was hacked or that it was a fake posting.
He came under fire for his remarks which many claimed were unpatriotic since Malaysia is also one of the claimants to parts of the waters, which China has designated as its historical territory in its 'nine-dash line' drawn over a large portion of the South China Sea.
Hew, commonly known as 'Superman' for his penchant to wear attire that sported the comic hero's logo, also accused his political rivals of using the matter to pressure the party into stripping him of his membership.
“My political opponents have been twisting my words... and even equate my personal political views with DAP's official position. This has caused troubles for my party, comrades and supporters.
“My political opponents continue to clamour for DAP disciplinary committee to take action against me, to kick me out, pressuring all DAP branches not to invite me for speeches. They want DAP to draw the line against me.”
“This has caused trouble for (veteran DAP leader) Lim Kit Siang... I know.”
“To solve the problem once and for all, I believe quitting the party would be the best option.”
While he maintained that there was nothing wrong with his views, he said that he was leaving for the good of the party.
Hew joined the DAP in 1989.
He defended his personal views as that of an historian, pointing to his PhD in comparative history, who must look further beyond the narrow viewpoint of patriotism and more to the context of regional stability.
On Tuesday, China’s claim over much of the South China Sea was refuted by Arbitral Tribunal of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, in a case brought by the Philippines over China's nine-dash line claim to the resource-rich area.
China has reportedly said it does not recognise the ruling.
The Philippines claimed that the Spratly Islands and Scarborough Shoal were part of its Exclusive Economic Zone, both of which lie within an area claimed by China known as the nine-dash line, which covers territory claimed by several nearby nations.
Malaysia is one of the nations that is currently laying claim to the contested territory.