Why The Reluctance To Meet Over Santiago S Exclusion Gobind
From S P Nathan
On Oct 25, a group of Indian NGOs called I.25 invited Selangor DAP chairman Gobind Singh Deo to a lunch or dinner to explain why Charles Santiago, the former Klang MP and one who has deep roots in NGO activities, was rumoured to be replaced as the candidate for Klang.
The purpose of the meeting was to get a clear understanding of the merits of the decision for change and relay those reasons to their members.
But on Wednesday night (Oct 26), DAP secretary-general Loke Siew Fook announced that Santiago would be dropped and replaced by Selangor executive councillor V Ganabatirau.
Following the announcement, social media was abuzz with a lot of posts expressing disappointment with the decision to drop Santiago.
It was very obvious that DAP, especially Gobind, had not understood the depth and strength of Santiago’s support within and outside the constituency.
Yes, he may not be a party man or hold any positions in the party’s hierarchy. But that he is a true servant of the people, Gobind cannot deny.
Following the announcement and negative reactions from the ground, there were a series of statements from Loke, Gobind and Santiago. Suffice to say that Loke and Gobind were trying to defend the decision.
They said Santiago had served three terms and was told in 2018 that the third term was going to be his last. Further, they had mentioned that there were requests from the ground for change.
Santiago has refuted all the statements. He has denied that he was told in 2018 that GE14 would be his last.
Also, the fact that Loke and Gobind are themselves exceeding the so-called three-term “rule” while others in the party are going for their fifth, sixth and seventh terms seemed to suggest something was amiss in their rationale.
The chorus of support from NGOs, various associations, civil society groups, and the ordinary people whose lives have been touched by Santiago also contradicts the statement that there were requests for change from the ground.
We just want to know the truth. So, once again, we request Gobind to meet us and explain the decision to drop Santiago.
The party may have the power to select the candidate but the voters make the final decision. - FMT
S P Nathan is a part of I.25, a coalition of Indian NGOs, and an FMT reader.
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of MMKtT.
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