Democratic Action Party

Published 15th April, 2013

The Democratic Action Party or DAP was founded in 1966 as the Malaysian branch of the People’s Action Party (PAP) of Singapore. The party describes itself as Centre-left and believes in Social democracy, Democratic socialism and Social justice. As such it is a multi-racial and secular party.

DAP is currently one of the three main parties in the opposition People’s Pact (Pakatan Rakyat; PR), the others being the People’s Justice Party (PKR) and the Pan-Islamic Malaysian Party (PAS).

The party fought its first election in 1969 in partnership with the Malaysian People’s Movement Party (Gerakan) and won 13 seats in the 140 seat House of Representatives. Soon after there was communal unrest and several party figures were arrested leading to the party’s activities being controlled by internal security measures. Nevertheless it remained the main opposition party throughout the 1970s and 1980s with its best result in 1986 when it won 24 seats.

In 1990 it dropped back to 20 seats and in 1995 it dropped even more to just nine seats. In 1995 it started the climb back, taking 10 seats, then 12 seats in 2004. In 2008 DAP took 28 seats and along with other People’s Pact partners it denied the BN its traditional two thirds majority in the House of Representatives.

The party is strongest in the states of Penang, Perak and the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur.

The Democratic Action Party is a member of Socialist International.

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