Kuala Lumpur, Aug 25 : The Democratic Action Party Malaysia has been on a roll at its 15th triennial national congress, with the re-election of the old guard, unveiling of a multi-million ringgit new party headquarters and little challenge to the leadership as shown in the delegates' debates and polls.
But beneath the jubilation, a ripple of dissatisfaction is being generated by an unlikely source -- Hindraf.
The non-governmental organisation, which became a household name when it held a rally last November, collaborated with the party in the general election.
DAP gave the Kota Alam Shah seat in Selangor to detained Hindraf lawyer, M. Manoharan, in exchange for full backing from Hindraf to capitalise on Indian sentiments. The NGO also called on its 5,000 members to vote for the opposition in the general election.
It worked. Manoharan won the seat comfortably with a 7,184-majority, despite not campaigning even a single day's (his wife campaigned for him instead).
But the just concluded party polls in which he and another detained Hindraf leader, V. Ganabatirau, failed to be elected to DAP's central executive committee (CEC) raised the question of whether the party appreciates Hindraf's contribution.
Manoharan and Ganabatirau were two of the 58 CEC hopefuls and had garnered 105 and 106 votes respectively out of 705 votes, placing them 39th and 38th on the list.
They failed to make it to the top 20, which would have given them seats in the CEC, and Hindraf members are unhappy.
Although Karpal Singh, M. Kula-segaran and Prof P. Ramasamy were re-elected to the CEC and given meaty party positions, one man claiming to represent Ganabatirau said the Indian representation was too thin.
K.P. Samy, the main bailor for the 118 Hindraf members charged with illegal assembly and a friend of Ganabatirau's and Manoharan's, had high hopes of the two making it to the CEC.
"They only got 15 per cent of the votes," the Nst Online quoted him, as saying.
"Indians played a major role in the last general election. Hindraf played a major role. But these heroes of Hindraf were not recognised. They should be honoured. We don't expect victory but 15 per cent of the votes is like total rejection. We must send a strong signal to the party that it has to be racially representative," Samy said.