Friday August 10, 2012
Tweet misery for Manoharan
By JOCELINE TAN
DAP politician M. Manoharan is no longer a winnable candidate and the party is unlikely to field him again in Kota Alam Shah after his thoughtless tweets about badminton star Datuk Lee Chong Wei.
DAP politician M. Manoharan is still reeling from his controversial tweet about our national sports hero Datuk Lee Chong Wei.
And it looks like his political career in DAP is as good as over.
Everyone in the party is washing their hands of him and the talk going around is that he will not be retained as the candidate for the Kota Alam Shah seat.
Manoharan is no longer a winnable candidate and he is at the tail-end of his political career in DAP.
DAP had capitalised on Manoharan’s reputation as a Hindraf activist in the 2008 election but is now trying to distance itself from him.
No one wants to be associated with someone who would actually run down a sports legend on a night when the entire nation was cheering and crying for him.
In fact, the most common reaction from members of the public on discovering the assemblyman’s tweets ranged from “stupid fella” to “what’s wrong with this guy?”
And that spells doom for someone representing a state government.
Moreover, this is an era where people say they are voting for the candidate as much as they are voting for the party.
It has put DAP in a difficult situation and many party leaders do not want to have him around in the next election for fear that it will cost them votes elsewhere.
Moreover, he is what they refer to as a repeat offender – his derogatory remarks about the national flag on Facebook is still fresh on the minds of many people.
He had then said that he would be flying the DAP flag on Malaysia Day instead of the Jalur Gemilang, which he associated with the Barisan Nasional and said should be redesigned.
It caused an uproar but the ripples then were nothing like now.
This time around, the ripple effect is much, much wider.
It is not just about politics and patriotism, it is also about a popular sport and about someone who is seen as a sports legend.
In fact, any politician who saw the queue at Original Penang Kayu Nasi Kandar on Wednesday would have made a mental note to be more careful when tweeting or Facebooking in the days ahead.
Many of those who were queuing up could have easily afforded to pay for nasi kandar but they went because they wanted to share that special moment when Malaysia came so close to winning an Olympic gold.
Everyone has their favourite sportsman or sports team but one does not root for the other side when a fellow citizen or the national team is playing.
And this explains why Manoharan is close to being perceived as less than loyal to the country.
Had he been watching the Olympics, he would have noticed how the British royals made it a point to attend events where their fellow citizens are competing.
In addition, their attire would often bear a colour associated with their national flag.
They wanted to show the world that they were there to support Team Great Britain or Team GB as they call it.
Manoharan, sad to say, did not come across as standing by Team Malaysia.
Some of his party members had tried to defend him in private, saying that he was in fact blaming the Government for Lee’s loss.
But that is just lame and, honestly, people are growing weary of this blame game.
The lawyer and one time Selangor DAP chairman has been somewhat a controversial figure from the day he joined DAP in the 1990s.
He is what his detractors would label a “Hindu rights extremist”; he was a key activist in Hindraf in the months leading up to the 2008 election.
DAP rode on the mood and put him in as a candidate even though he had been detained under the ISA.
He won the Kota Alam Shah seat while in Kamunting.
He was released last year, still defiant and in fighting form.
He was sworn in after that and DAP sources said he had initially refused to wear the songkok for his swearing-in.
He felt that the songkok went against his cultural beliefs.
“It is his right to believe in his cause but his record of going haywire is becoming a bit too much. Moreover, he has not performed as an assemblyman,” said a senior party figure.
His latest fiasco has been described by DAP chairman Karpal Singh as “indefensible” and that says a lot.
DAP slapped a six-month suspension on Manoharan over the Jalur Gemilang episode.
But Karpal, who was his lawyer throughout his ISA debacle, is said to have spoken up for him in the party’s central committee and his suspension was revoked after a month.
The reason offered by the party was that he had shown remorse and taken down the offensive Facebook posting.
Karpal is a lawyer and he knows that mitigation does not work the second time around.
Hence, immediately after the Lee Chong Wei tweet, Karpal told Manoharan to apologise and put the matter to rest.
People like Manoharan are not unique in Malaysian politics.
The rivalry between the two coalitions has become so intense that almost anything and everything is a political issue.
Manoharan is not exactly a Tweet addict like some people who feel compelled to share everything they think or do on Twitter.
His problem is that he sometimes does not think before he tweets and, this time, it is going to cost him big time.
His image has been blemished and his political career is on the line.