Tuesday, August 2, 2011
DAP: The perfect M'sian politburo
"The DAP was formed by patriotic Malaysians is 1966 to blaze out the path towards a democratic socialist, Malaysian Malaysia... we are confronting an unholy alliance of compradore-feudalist interests compounded by the most shameless pandering to chauvinism to perpetuate their interests..." - Dr Chen Man Hin, his foreward in Lim Kit Siang's Time Bombs in Malaysia, May 27 1978.
When DAP Member of Parliament for Bukit Bintang, Lee Lam Thye announced his decision to quit the party in 1990, many shed tears and others were shocked, including pro-BN MPs and journalists who had 'been with him', as friends and foes.
However, none of his friends on the DAP bench showed regrets. In fact, they accepted his 'demise' as a blessing.
DAP did not need a moderate politician who knows what is right and wrong. Lee was perhaps the most constructive Opposition figure the country ever had. He was very supportive of any government's policy deemed to uplift the peoples' standard of living, and in bringing them closer as a nation. But he would also hit out at the government should any of the policies failed to attain its objective.
We don't have a constructive Opposition since Lee - an Opposition who would sit down with the government, share ideas and thoughts as to how the country could be further developed and how Malaysians should be instilled with 'zero prejudice' after more than 50 years of Independence.
Although Lee did not avow the main reason for his decision back then, mostly everybody could read his mind - he was frustrated with the party leadership, especially the manner in which the party was being steered.
Some former DAP members labeled the party as another politburo. Why? The secretary-general is the most powerful, who practices corporate and legalistic entity. The chairman and other office bearers are just there to complete the executive structure.
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was under the control of a politburo called the Presidium from 1952 until 1966 (the year DAP was founded).
In theory, it acted as the political bureau (hence Politburo) of the Central Committee, elected by them to direct the party between the sessions of the committee and with a mandate that only covered the party.
The Politburo was responsible to, and its membership was subject to, the approval of the Central Committee. But in reality, the politburo was a self-perpetuating body that served as the executive branch of the party (in Soviet Union then, its decisions de facto had the force of law). Elections for the top positions were only held if the secretary-general agrees.
DAP is of no difference. Lim Kit Siang is the most powerful and nobody had tried to challenge him seriously thus far.
Under Stalin, the processes under which the leadership of the party was determined became an entirely hierarchical matter with the General Secretary (i.e. Stalin) determining the composition of the Central Committee and even that of the politburo rather than the reverse.
After Stalin's death the authority of the General Secretary waxed and waned to various degrees and the composition of the politburo again became a matter of shifting alliances among leading members and interest groups within the party, at least until a General Secretary was able to consolidate his position.
DAP will forever be administered in this politburo style, if not Russian, its the China-style. And both are (or were) Communists.
The sec-gen of the Soviet Union Communist Party did not necessarily hold a state office like president or prime minister to effectively control the system of government. Instead, party members answerable to or controlled by the party held these posts, often as honorific posts as a reward for their long years of service to the party.
On other occasions, having governed as General Secretary, the party leader might assume a state office in addition. For example, Mikhail Gorbachev initially did not hold the presidency of the Soviet Union, that office being given as an honour to former Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko. Stalin ruled the Soviet Union for well over a decade before assuming the governmental position of Premier of the Soviet Union during World War II.
In China, the politburo was eclipsed by the Secretariat of the Communist Party of China Central Committee in the early 1980s under Hu Yaobang but has re-emerged as a dominant force after Hu's ousting in 1987.
However, DAP 'politburo' has deviated much too extreme since then. Apart from failing to really subscribing the a la Soviet or Chinese forceful political detente, they are now a bunch of fiddlesticks.
Dr Chen's description of the 'unholy alliance' (between Umno, MCA and MIC in the BN) is now best to picture the kind of desperate political agreement DAP has signed up with PAS (and PKR) - PAS being the party it hated most while PKR is being led by its 'once a nemesis'.
I believe Lee Lam Thye, in quitting the party, was able to visualize DAP direction as an Opposition. Being an Opposition party, Kit Siang and team feel that their duty is only to oppose. The government and the country are so bad that nothing deserves their credit.