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PETALING JAYA, Jan 14, 2016:

DAP is facing a dilemma as its own members are not comfortable with the party’s proposal to have 50% of its members made up of Malays and Bumiputeras from Sabah and Sarawak.

Party strategist Dr Ong Kian Ming said having such a proposal was a good strategy to reduce “chauvinist views” displayed off the party, but admitted the internal resistance was a problem.

“When intentions like this are presented within the confines of the party, there are members themselves who are uncomfortable with the proposal that it (the party) wants to achieve 50% membership of Malays and Bumiputeras.

“We can win more Malay votes by also increasing Malay membership, but there is internal resistance,” he said at a forum last night titled “Can the Opposition party win Malay votes in the 14th General Election?”.

However, this was not the only dilemma as the party also saw external resistance, saying outsiders could also be uncomfortable with its proposal.

Ong cited the example of what transpired during the Pakatan Harapan (PH) leadership convention held recently, during which Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) member Zulkefly Ahmad said DAP should not field Malay candidates in Johor state seats.

“That is an external dilemma that needs to be overcome if DAP and the Opposition want to win more Malay votes in the 14th General Election,” he added.

He expressed these sentiments when asked to comment on the views that DAP needed to fix its image.

Ong agreed that perceptions such as DAP being anti-Malay, anti-Islam and fighting for Chinese rights were not new and the party also had a history of being made the “boogeyman”.

Referring to research on this by think tank Darul Ehsan Institute (IDE), he said the figures were worrying and agreed that it needed to be tackled.

According to the research findings, 64% of 1,716 Malay respondents throughout Selangor agreed that DAP was an anti-Malay and anti-Islam party.

Ong said the challenge was to change this image and the perception could be changed, but there were several “conditions”.

“One condition is we cannot shoot ourselves in the foot. This includes DAP leaders who have several times issued statements that hurt Malays unintentionally.

“A lot of that has to do with awareness of DAP leaders against sensitive issues among Malay voters,” he said.

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