by Boo Su-Lyn,
The Malay Mail Online
May 17, 2014
TELUK INTAN, May 17 ― DAP’s choice of a fresh-faced ethnic Malay candidate for the Teluk Intan by-election is leaving some in the predominantly Chinese town unimpressed.
In a move hailed as progressive and aimed at breaking down race-based voting patterns, DAP today named 26-year-old Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud as its candidate for the parliamentary seat, snubbing more experienced ethnic Chinese candidates.
Several Chinese voters at the small town told The Malay Mail Online they were not convinced by DAP’s lofty attempt to eradicate race politics.
Businessman Michael Chia, 55, said Teluk Intan has had a Chinese MP for decades.
“You put a Malay candidate, she’s not going to have a chance,” he told The Malay Mail Online.
“The Chinese like to gamble here. You want to win ― put a Chinese or Indian,” he said.
Chia, who runs a construction company, also spoke positively of Hew Kuan Yau, a popular local DAP leader known as “Superman”.
“He’s a good speaker,” said Chia.
Hew had been touted as an early candidate for the Teluk Intan by-election scheduled for May 31 but was sidelined for Dyana, the political secretary to veteran DAP politician Lim Kit Siang.
Ethnic Chinese are the largest group of voters in Teluk Intan, making up 42 per cent of voters. Malays make up 38 per cent and Indians 19 per cent.
In the May 5 general election last year, DAP’s Seah Leong Peng, whose recent death triggered the by election, won the by a majority of over 7,000 votes.
Seah beat out Gerakan president Datuk Mah Siew Keong last year but the latter is likely to fight again, taking on Dyana.
A 60-year-old Chinese lorry driver, who wanted to remain anonymous, said he might give Barisan Nasional’s (BN) a chance.
“His work is okay,” he told The Malay Mail Online.
One retiree who would only identify himself as Mr Tan also spoke favourably of Mah.
“His service here is very good. Maybe this time he’ll win,” he said.
The retiree went on to air his complaints about DAP, accusing the predominantly ethnic Chinese party of staying silent during the hudud brouhaha when its Pakatan Rakyat (PR) ally PAS attempted to implement the controversial Islamic penal code in Kelantan.
“Lim Kit Siang was quiet. Lim Guan Eng said nothing,” Tan said, referring to the father-and-son top leaders in the DAP.
“The DAP is with PAS. I don’t like PAS,” added the 70-year-old.
A local Chinese woman, who identified herself only as Madam Tan told The Malay Mail Online that race remained a divisive issue.
“Malays will help the Malays. If we ask for help, we don’t get it.”
The elderly woman said she observed that Chinese traders who sold vegetables without a trading licence in the town here routinely harassed by the authorities, while the Malay traders remained unmolested.
“I see this happening and I get so angry,” she said.
“It’s not that they’re stealing. They’re just trying to make a living, selling a bunch of vegetables for RM1,” she added.
Madam Tan also related a story where robbers armed with parangs and believed to be Malays had entered an Internet cafe, which allowed online gambling, and robbed Chinese patrons of their jewellery, but left Malays alone.
David Jackson Lo, a Chinese Australian who has been residing here for the past six years, said his Chinese friends here were questioning DAP’s decision to field Dyana Sofya.
“The fact is that the majority of voters in Teluk Intan are Chinese, and the previous candidate was a Chinese,” Lo told The Malay Mail Online.
“The main issue is that Kelantan wanted to implement hudud. And now they put in a Malay. My friends prefer Superman to a sweet Malay lady,” he added.