GEORGE TOWN, Jan 9 — The majority of DAP leaders support Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) choice of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to be prime minister, party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng maintained today.
Dismissing remarks by Sangeet Kaur Deo, the daughter of late DAP stalwart Karpal Singh, Lim said such resistance to the endorsement of the 92-year-old former prime minister was isolated.
“DAP leaders support this decision and even though there are differences in views, it is not extensive or widespread, only one or two leaders,” he said.
He also described DAP as a democratic party that was open to dissenting views.
However, he said that the views of the majority of its leaders would determine DAP’s positions.
“Some of those who don’t support, they are no longer in the party,” he said.
Yesterday, Sangeet, who is a DAP member, issued a statement criticising the selection of Dr Mahathir as PH’s candidate for prime minister, saying it would only result in the return of “Mahathirism”.
“Mahathirism” is a pejorative used to deride the former prime minister’s past policies and notions.
In 2016, Sangeet had reminded DAP to keep sight of its principles after Dr Mahathir, once considered the party’s nemesis, made a historic appearance at the DAP conference then.
The party had been an unrelenting opponent to Dr Mahathir when he had been in power and for years after his retirement in 2003.
Her late father and his contemporary, Lim Kit Siang, had been among Dr Mahathir’s fiercest critics, and were both detained by the former PM under the now defunct Internal Security Act during the infamous Ops Lalang of 1987.
Lim has since become a firm ally to Dr Mahathir, despite clashing with the latter as recently as Election 2013 when both politicians hurled insults and allegations of racism at each other.
Since leaving Umno in 2016, Dr Mahathir has co-opted Pakatan Harapan by becoming its chairman and, now, candidate to be its prime minister.