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Date: 24 Nov 1999
DAP: We're facing a tough battle
SEREMBAN: The DAP is facing an uphill battle in trying to counter criticism of the people over its partnership with PAS, its chairman Dr Chen Man Hin said.
The DAP candidate for Rasah parliamentary and Temiang state seat, is also facing attacks that he would not be able to serve the people effectively as he was "old and sick."
But for Barisan Nasional, it was a day of triumph when Tampin Parti Keadilan Nasional division chief Yusof Tapa led 400 members to defect to Umno yesterday.
Dr Chen said the feedback he had obtained from the ground was that people were questioning the party's move in teaming up with PAS.
The people were fearful of talks about PAS wanting to form an Islamic state and the DAP had to convince the people that it would not happen, he said.
The fear, he said, could even be the reason why there was a poor turnout during DAP ceramah.
He said the DAP expected to get 40% support from Chinese this around, compared to 55% in the 1995 general election.
Dr Chen, 75, said the fight was getting even tougher where his age was the point of attack by Barisan.
"I had been criticised as not suitable to be an elected representative because I am old and sick and I spend all my time at my clinic," he said.
Dr Chen gave the assurance that he would employ three assistants if he was voted in.
Apart from such attacks, Yusof's defection has further affected the opposition front.
Yusof said the Tampin Keadilan division had been dissolved with his crossing over to Umno.
Among those who defected to Umno with Yusof was the Keadilan Wanita Tampin division chief Norbibah Ismail and committee members Col (rtd) Roseli Abdul Ghani and Roslan Hamid.
Yusof, who joined Keadilan about seven months ago, described Keadilan's leadership as "more dictatorial" as he was not allowed to voice differences in opinion.
"They (Keadilan leaders) are only concern about who will be the pemimpin besar (high positions in the party) and not on plans to develop the country," he said.
He added that his choice of three candidates for Keadilan in Kota was not accepted but instead a person unknown to the division had been placed there.
Keadilan candidate Nasharuddin Baba is facing Barisan candidate Zaharuddin Shariff for the Kota state seat.
State Barisan chief Tan Sri Mohamed Isa Abdul Samad, who received the application forms from Yusof, said he did not make any offers to Yusof and the others to join Umno.
Isa said Keadilan was a political party which was set up for only an individual and not for the interest of the nation.
However, the opposition front is unfazed by such news of defections.
State Keadilan chief Ruslan Kassim said he was not surprised with the crossovers as he had been cautioned about the move.