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Missing the ‘old’ DAP which would have seized the moment to offer pro bono legal advice to under siege Vern‘s

Publish date: Sun, 14 Apr 2024, 11:18 AM

TYPICALLY, one would not apologise for mistakes one did not make. But the owner of Vern’s shoes brand Datuk Seri Ng Chuan Hoo did just that despite clarifying that the sole on its foot apparel was not an “Allah” inscription.

The personal apology from Ng came despite the company having made a public apology earlier and even offered to compensate those who had bought shoes with what it insisted was a stylised design of one of its high heels.

It is commendable for Ng to try to defuse a potentially explosive issue from the get-go but some have questioned the need for him and his company to bend backwards for an issue even Muslims regard as a non-starter.

Is it because the company knew it would be left to its own devices?

What is even more appalling is that hardly any politicians stood behind Vern’s which was clearly a victim in this case. The police have seized 1,145 pairs of shoes from the company’s outlets nationwide causing potential loss in business and business reputation.

In the past, political parties like DAP would have come to Vern’s defence even before the company knew what hit them. People like the party’s former secretary-general Tan Sri Lim Kit Siang would have fired a series of media statements condemning the unfair and unjust mis-treatment of Vern’s and offered free unsolicited legal services to challenge the authorities.

Tiger changing its stripes?

Today, there was barely a whimper from the DAP or PKR leaders. Many have wised up from the KK Super Mart fall-out which saw fellow unity government partners, DAP and UMNO crossing swords over an issue demarcated along racial-religious lines.

One cannot fault Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders’ silence over this as well as their reticence to push the envelope over issues like the “Allah” inscription found on a pair of socks in a KK Super Mart outlet.

Barisan Nasional (BN) parties like MCA and the MIC as well as opposition Gerakan, too, are more than happy to bury their heads in the sand until this issue blows over.

All the parties across the political divide have only one concern: the Malay votes which is key to winning power in Malaysia.

No non-Malay parties are willing to risk coming across as overly chauvinistic in favour of their traditional voters’ base even if this means alienating the non-Malays who are the minority. It’s just simple arithmetic at work.

This brings to mind the recent interview by DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke Siew Fook on the “Keluar Sekejap” podcast where he was asked if his party was starting to sound like the MCA in that DAP had compromised its principles when faced with certain controversial decisions linked to UMNO leaders.

“Firstly, I’m confident that our performance is better than MCA. Secondly, there are issues that we will voice out on but there are proper channels,” Loke, the Transport Minister, replied.

Ironically, “proper channels” was also the phrase MCA, MIC and Gerakan used back when these parties were attacked for failing to speak up for non-Malays during BN’s long reign.

Being seen as subservient to Big Brother UMNO was also the reason why these parties had fallen out of favour with the voters.

DAP should learn from history before it is too late. Otherwise, it’d be better off for the party to go back to being in the Opposition and stick to what it is best at doing: defending the plight of the non-Malays. - April 14, 2024

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