I was in KL for the weekend. After breaking up many promises to go and chill out with my friends on the other side (so sorry peeps for that!), finally I made a last minute decision to go. Booked my ticket on Thursday and flew down on Friday evening. I am glad I made it to KL because I had the chance to attend few very important tweetups, meeting old friends – especially my lovely comrades from Facebook, and hanging out with many new friends from Twittersphere.
I touched down at LCCT around 7.30pm, took a bus to KL Sentral which took me an hour to reach there. Another 10 mins wasted to find a cab. First cab asked for RM35, I told him to go back and sleep, then I went to the roadside and managed to catch a macha. We had a good chat about Sarawak (after he learned that I am a Sarawakian), tuak, toddy, samsu and a little bit on politics. I was heading to Rocket Cafe to attend a tweetup with Lim Kit Siang. Tony Pua was there as well. I was late, reached there around 9pm and luckily I just missed the session about half an hour.
Teeetup with Lim Kit Siang and Tony Pua
The tweetup make-up is a very multiracial one, something different from the usual DAP organised gatherings I have been to. In fact, Vijay whispered to me halfway during the tweetup, “Hey Bong, you know this is the first gathering I’ve been that I see so many races, normally.. majority Chinese and few Indians, very seldom got Malays. Tonight we have so many”.
Many questions and comment were raised during the tweetup. Questions on Lim Kit Siang’s call for boycott during the swearing in ceremony in Perak post GE 2008, September 16 and many more.
I had the chance to ask few questions and make some comments on the image of DAP as a multiracial party hampered by its inability to get the right mixture of members and leaders to reflect a true multiracial party. Many other tweeples jumped in and gave their comments on how DAP is still perceived among Malays as a Chinese party. Something need to be done to change this perception.
Lim Kit Siang gave a good answer on this. He pointed out that in principle, DAP never close its door to any Malaysian, be it Malay, Chinese, Indian etc. The party does not limit any Malaysian of any race and religion to join the party. He then mentioned some prominent Malay leaders in DAP – a well-known Malay, MP Ahmad Nor, who was its vice-president until his death in 2003, Tunku Abdul Aziz the current party vice-president as an example of DAP multiracial and open to all. approach. It’s wrong to say that the DAP is not interested broadening its appeal to the Malays.
But DAP has difficulties to attract other races especially Malays because there are so many other parties to choose from and most of the time being an opposition party doesn’t help. Malays can choose from Umno, Gerakan, PPP then only PAS, PKR and lastly DAP. For those who are pro-opposition, before PKR was formed they would choose either PAS or DAP but now they can choose PKR.
Hmm, for me I personally feel the problem with DAP trying to attract Malay members is that DAP does not have enough specifics in their programmes or policies for the Malays as a specific community. How DAP is going to assist the Malays in their development, what kind of policies DAP has for them. Reaching out to the Malays is different from reaching out to the Chinese and Indians and other Natives for that matter. Religion is one crucial factor.
Another issue brought up was on the dissemination of information to the ground. DAP specifically or Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in general could have done many good things but all this good news are not delivered to the right people due to the distortion, manipulative and blackout in mainstream media. This problem is also related to the previous question and comments where DAP is perceived as a Chinese party when DAP has always been multi-racial in its composition and outlook.
PR also does not have an official one stop centre’ for all the news, press statements, commentaries on policies and current issues, blogs for its leaders, members and supporters. Independent or alternative media who are pro PR like Malaysia Today and Malaysiakini are not enough. TV Selangor is a good example on how Pakatan Rakyat can use it to present PR’s side on any story and issues of current interests, offering counter-statements, interviews on various issues and showing all the good works carried out by PR. Heck it even has live parliamentary session, something Malaysian cannot get from RTM channels or any mainstream electronic media.
I also commented on the cooperation between Pakatan Rakyat parties – PKR, DAP and PAS where PR still does not portray itself as a coalition with united voice when you have situation where PAS will take lead on a certain issue, DAP will take lead on another issue. I suggested that for DAP to portray and show that it is a party who is after Malaysians’ interests, it should always go to the front.
Tony Pua replied “Let’s say for an example, on the Allah issue if DAP was the first to go out and say ‘It is okay for the Christians to use the Allah word’ and then PAS followed after that, how people would think? How the Muslims would think? Don’t you think Umno and BN would jump to the opportunity to say PAS ‘ikut telunjuk’ (PAS is DAP’s puppet)? That is why for certain issues, we find it is better for us to sit back and let other parties take the lead.
Valid point, which I gave my next comment ‘Then, to avoid such problem, giving impression to the people out there on the disunity of PR parties, of who’s taking the lead and who’s taking the back seat, shouldn’t Pakatan Rakyat issue some sort of joint-statement when dealing with an issue? That way, no question of each party issuing its own statement or the possibility of contradicting each other. It is also more difficult for PR detractors to accuse any party of being submissive to other party. Any statement or comments coming from other PR leaders or parties after the official statement are considered as just personal opinions/views since the official stand has been made.”
Too bad, time was running out and the only reply I got was “Well, that’s an idealistic thinking”. Hmm….
Tweetup at The Reef, TTDI
A friend was waiting for more than 15 mins downstairs for me and Vijay to go for another tweetup at The Reef, TTDI. So after we took some group photos, we left for The Reef. I was so happy to meet up with the regular tweeples in person – @Asohan, @orangasle, @feistyflo (Thanks for inviting me cayang hahaha!), @zeffri (and his lovely wife), @IcedNyior, @thechannelc (she left without saying goodbye! Easier to sneak out than saying goodbye eh??), @sureshdr, @rachelweiyi, @iemzhar, @JcrT, @auzani (he came a bit late after). Sorry if I miss out your name, writing this off the top of my head.
Had so much fun, gyrating to the 80’s tune. We even made a toss to #yorais! We were so loud and at one point chanting “U2, U2, U2” asking for songs from the band to be played. Too bad, our requests were ignored.. huargghhh! Nobody was taking photos of the tweetup, I think @IcedNyior took some and twitpic-ed it, may need to check her tweets for the photos. We adjourned to the mamak opposite the bar and I had my sleep around 4.30am. I was staying at D’aman Ria, the place where I stayed when I was working in Klang Valley. Thanks CM for opening the door at 4am LOL!
To be continued… (Next post – fish head noodle, Kanna Curry House farewell lunch and Teh Tarik Tweetup with Anwar Ibrahim)