In recent discussions, the Democratic Action Party (DAP) has found itself at a crossroads regarding its core ideology. There are concerns that if the party decides to drop its agenda of establishing a ‘Secular State’ and the slogan ‘Malaysian Malaysia,’ it could potentially lose influence and support among non-Malay communities, particularly the Chinese.
Associate Professor Dr. Chang Yun Fah, the Huayan Policy Academic Director at the Institute Center for Malaysian Chinese Studies, emphasized that these issues constitute the core ideology of the DAP. He noted that abandoning these principles could jeopardize the party’s relationship with its non-Malay voter base.
Yun Fah also highlighted the challenge of winning over Malay voters if the party were to veer away from its original ideology. He suggested that, for now, the coalition government in Putrajaya should prioritize issues like the national economy, improving people’s livelihoods, and addressing the struggles faced by the B40 group.
Furthermore, Yun Fah urged all parties within the government coalition to refrain from interfering in each other’s internal affairs and ideologies, emphasizing the need for mutual respect. He pointed to past cooperation between the DAP and PAS in Pakatan Rakyat, where they successfully collaborated without infringing on each other’s ideologies.
While some, like Umno Supreme Working Council member Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, have called for the DAP to abandon the ‘Secular State’ agenda and the ‘Malaysian Malaysia’ slogan, there are differing opinions within the party. Nur Jazlan argued that this step would be necessary to convince Malays that the DAP has evolved. However, Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham, Beruas Member of Parliament and Chairman of the DAP disciplinary committee, clarified that these elements were not part of the party’s constitution. He stressed that the DAP upholds the Federal Constitution.
This ongoing debate within the DAP highlights the delicate balance the party must strike between its core ideology and the changing political landscape. It also underscores the complexity of managing diverse political ideologies within a coalition government.