Incumbent Johor DAP chief Liew Chin Tong has likened the DAP of old to a “grocery store” and said the party must now transition to a “big supermarket”.
He said the transition in terms of membership had already happened and now the way the party is managed must follow suit.
“As an example, Johor DAP had 87 branches during the 2018 party election but it now has 210 branches eligible for today’s election.
“Now, we must scale and use the approach of managing a big supermarket to manage the party.
“We should not fear the reality that DAP is now a mainstream party. It is no longer a small opposition that only knew how to oppose.
“If Johor DAP can succeed in transforming from a grocery store to a big supermarket, then it can help with the transformation nationwide,” he said in his speech at the Johor DAP convention in Batu Pahat today.
The convention today will also see the election for the new state party leadership.
Liew, who has the backing of central leaders such as DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang, is facing a revolt among some grassroots members.
In his speech, Liew praised grassroots leaders, particularly local councillors as well as village and community chiefs that the party had produced.
He thanked them for their contributions and said elected representatives must also do more.
Liew said he hoped elected representatives in Johor can engage in policy, lead development initiatives for local communities and also engage communities on development plans.
Liew, who is a senator, also urged the party to close ranks ahead of the 15th general election.
He said the 15th general election will be a battle of “three governments”.
He pointed out that all three main coalitions, BN, PN and Pakatan Harapan have governance experience.
He said while some may be disappointed with the collapse of the Harapan government in February last year, they should not lose faith.
“Change is not impossible if we unite to oust the unelected regime. Do not only think about being the opposition.
“We proved it can be done in the 2018 general election and we can prove it again that the people stand with us in the 15th general election,” he said.
He also backed the central leadership’s “big tent” approach - a push to form a broad opposition coalition that goes beyond Harapan.
“The DAP can no longer act alone in its struggle and only make preparations for its own seats.
“We need to cooperate and stand in solidarity with our Harapan allies and other opposition parties that are aligned with us,” he said.