DAP leaders, particularly party advisor Lim Kit Siang and his son cum secretary general Lim Guan Eng, have been trying to play down the recent spat between DAP Chairman Karpal Singh and Penang Deputy Chief Minister P.Ramasamy.
On the surface it appears that both the senior Lim and his chief minister son are trying very hard to prevent an all out war between Ramasamy and party stalwart Karpal Singh.
But what is the actual development in the party, which now controls the state of Penang? Is there a storm brewing below the surface?
Observers are of the view that a serious power struggle is underway in Penang, with senior party leaders making their move in preparation for the 13th general elections.
The Ramasamy-Karpal spat started after the former took it upon himself to announce the names of a few of his strong supporters as DAP candidates.
Known as an individual who sticks to the spirit of the letter, Karpal immediately shot back at Ramasamy for breaching party rules and ethics by openly venturing into the sacred domain of the central committee.
Karpal said Ramasamy shouldn’t behave like a warlord by positioning his team without prior consultation or approval of the central committee and Ramasamy shot back saying that DAP doesn’t need a ‘godfather’ – in clear reference to the chairman.
The central committee that is basically run by the advisor and his son quickly formed a special panel to handle the Ramasamy-Karpal spat.
Both father and son included themselves in the panel and also roped in the obedient party life advisor Dr Chen Man Hin.
The panel swiftly, in a matter of hours, concluded that the spat has been solved and DAP would move forward to face the elections, but what they failed to do is to address the problem in hand.
While the three-man panel issued a statement ‘resolving’ the spat, Karpal issued a strong counter statement that all was not well.
The no nonsense party Chairman has said that the matter was far from over and that the party must take action against Ramasamy and those associated with him for breaching DAP’s rules, regulations and party ethics.
Karpal’s strongly worded statement, which was published in the New Straits Times, has now created a storm in DAP.
It was reliably learnt that secretary general Lim Guan Eng had confided to his father and requested the senior Lim to reprimand Karpal for his outburst in the NST.
Lim Kit Siang did make a telephone call to Karpal to calm him down and to convey Lim Guan Eng’s displeasure, but the advisor was given a dressing down by the Tiger of Jelutong for condoning Ramasamy’s serious breach of discipline.
Karpal, it was understood, is perplexed with these recent developments and the way the Lims were behaving to Ramasamy’s crude politics.
Two DAP state assemblyman in Penang, R.S.N. Rayer (Seri Delima) and A. Thanasekaran (Bagan Dalam), who are known Karpal supporters, have also been the target of Ramasamy’s open attacks.
What surprises political observers and DAP veterans is how Ramasamy, being a novice first term politician and a new comer in Penang, could have mustered enough political courage to mount such an attack against Karpal Singh.
Almost all of them suspect some hidden hands at work behind the campaign to attack Karpal since demonstrations against the party chairman have also been held outside Penang.
In Selangor, the party veterans effigy was burnt by a group DAP members claiming to be Ramasamy supporters.
But has Ramasamy gained such support and influence in DAP after just a couple of years in politics or is the former UKM lecturer being pushed into the ring by powerful DAP leaders who are out to remove Karpal?
Karpal’s close confidantes believe that it’s a high level conspiracy hatched to not only remove Karpal but also to consolidate certain individual’s hold on the party.
You could call it a power struggle but its not just a DAP Penang issue. This is a battle to gain total control of the DAP and to form a new team of elected representatives who would toe the secretary general and his father’s orders.
Who could the conspirators be? Whatever their plans are, Karpal is not going to just give up and walk away.
We shall watch the Tiger of Jelutong fighting to protect his territory. You could burn his effigy but not his courage to take on his enemies, more so when they’re merely the hachet men of Karpal’s once trusted comrades.