Two Malaysian Opposition Parties in Fresh Dispute
Two members of Malaysia's four-party opposition alliance are involved in a fresh dispute, just three months after a disagreement which had threatened to break up the grouping.
The Democratic Action Party (DAP) and the National Justice Party (Keadilan), both members of the Alternative Front, are at odds after three DAP stalwarts in one district opted to join Keadilan.
DAP chairman Lim Kit Siang said Keadilan's top leadership had given assurances that it wants good relations but state and local leaders were not honouring this.
"A lot of people are playing games. The cat and dog fights are not going to help the opposition coalition," Lim told AFP.
Keadilan has recruited the former DAP members in the northern state of Penang.
"It's unfortunate. The latest development upsets the good relations among the leaders," said Lim.
Keadilan is led by the wife of jailed ex-deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim.
The Alternative Front, formed before the November 1999 elections, links the Chinese-dominated DAP, the Malay-dominated Keadilan, the exclusively Malay Parti Islam Semalaysia and the small Malaysian People's Party.
Most ruling and opposition parties are race-based but the DAP and Keadilan say they do not represent one ethnic group exclusively.
The two parties fell out badly after a DAP candidate was forced to step down in favour of Keadilan's man in a by-election last November.
Lim denied media reports that he would boycott meetings of leaders of all Alternative Front parties but said he would not attend meetings between DAP and Keadilan.
Chow Kon Yeow, Penang DAP chairman, said: "We are upset that Keadilan has chosen to treat us like a foe rather than a comrade in the same struggle."
Ronnie Liu, DAP's national publicity secretary, said Keadilan's action in recruiting DAP members had strained ties, adding that there was a tacit agreement not to accept each other's members.
Keadilan in a statement Tuesday expressed regret over the differences.
Chandra Muzaffar, deputy president, said Keadilan and DAP leaders and members "should place the larger interest of the Alternative Front above everything else." -- KUALA LUMPUR (AFP)
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)