DAP is working on plans to put its veterans, such as Lim Kit Siang, Teresa Kok and others, in tougher federal seats as it works on bleeding in new talent in the next general election.
Several party sources told The Malaysian Insight that DAP would continue to focus on Johor, the birthplace of Umno, which heads the ruling Barisan Nasional government.
“We are looking at tougher seats for the veterans. But some of the seats belong to our allies, so that could take some cajoling ,” a source told The Malaysian Insight.
DAP contested 51 federal seats in the 2013 general election, winning 38 – the most among the allies in the then Pakatan Rakyat coalition that included PKR and PAS.
The party is now in a formal coalition called Pakatan Harapan with PKR, PAS splinter group Amanah and Bersatu, chaired by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who also chairs the new pact.
PAS has decided to go it alone with another pact in the next general election, and has been seen to be closer to Umno.
“Party strategists are trying to convince the veterans to fight in other seats and allow the young ones to take up current strongholds,” another source said.
Kit Siang, the DAP parliamentary leader and Gelang Patah MP, is said to be keen on standing in another federal seat in Johor, but has limited options as DAP contested only six seats in the southern state in 2013.
He declined to confirm the latest party plans when asked, saying they were still being worked on.
Party strategist and Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong is said to be keen on contesting in Labis, which MCA’s Chua Tee Yong retained in a straight fight with DAP’s Ramakrishnan Suppiah in the 2013 polls.
It is understood that Kok, the Seputeh MP since 1999, could be shifted to another federal seat from her political stronghold.
“DAP needs to bring in fresh talent to fill up seats left by the veterans. But some veterans will stay on, too,” one party source added.
Among the veterans still keen on standing for elections are Kepong MP Dr Tan Seng Giaw (since 1982), Bukit Bintang MP Fong Kui Lun (since 1999) and Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai (since 1995).
“There are young politicians who have yet to be fielded. GE14 is a good chance for them to contest,” the source said, citing the case of Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud, who stood in the Teluk Intan by-election in 2014 but lost.
The predominantly Chinese DAP had fielded more Malay candidates in the past two general elections, much to the chagrin of other Malay parties, such as Umno, PKR and PAS.