At National Congress, Loke reiterates DAP’s centrist stand

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 10 — DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke told the party’s national congress here today that it would continue to champion “centrist” politics, a point he repeated in most parts of his policy speech delivered in the presence of top Umno leaders, including Deputy Prime Minister and Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

It was a message likely meant to placate the grassroots of both his own party and Umno amid rumours that both sides are still uneasy about their alliance, as this year's annual assembly marked the first time the two former archrivals graced each other at an official party function as colleagues and members of the federal government.

In an improvised speech delivered predominantly in Bahasa Melayu, Loke stressed that the DAP is not extreme and that its core beliefs are always above all about unity in diversity. The DAP minister then said it was an ideology that aligns with the Federal Constitution, which enshrines good governance and equality before the law.

"We have always believed in moderation. We are not extreme...we are a party whose ideology is social democracy. What is meant by social democracy is that we are a centre-left party," Loke said.

"We are not communists. We have always strived to be at the centre of politics and we believe that's how it should be, that all parties should strive to be centrists."

Still, Loke accentuated the message that the DAP respects the position and privileges accorded to the Bumiputera community, and gave his assurance that the party has never intended to achieve total political control.

The DAP was the constant subject of Umno's attacks for decades and up until their surprise collaboration after the 15th general election led to a hung parliament. Umno leaders often portrayed the Pakatan Harapan component member as a Chinese chauvinist party, allegedly with a secret ambition to abolish Malay political rule.

DAP leaders have repeatedly denied the allegation. Loke said today his party only wants fair and equal treatment of all Malaysians.

"Our struggle has always been to fight for all ethnicities, for a Malaysia that is fair to all Malaysians...there are over 65 per cent of Malays, we can never usurp power," the DAP secretary-general said.