Dyana a new political phenomena


— A Kadir Jasin
The Malaysian Insider
MAY 20, 2014

MAY 20 — Although I am 9989.2 km away from home on my annual extraterritorial grandfather duty and will be missing the Bukit Gelugor and Telok Intan parliamentary by-elections, it is hard for me to escape Dyana Sofya craze.

When I woke up this morning, I saw five messages from a former Umno divisional secretary on my cellular telephone.

One reads: “Dyana is said to be the latest state of the art Samsung 5s (sic) while Mah is Nokia. Sigh!”

My friend, the Nokia bit is an insult. I am a user of the pre-smart phone era Nokia E52. It’s good enough to roam the world and for you to send me SMS.

He was comparing the Barisan Nasional’s canditate for the Teluk Intan parliamentary by-election, Mah Siew Keong, and his DAP’s challenger, Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud.

Mah is the Gerakan president and an incumbent BN candidate while Dyana Sofya is Lim Kit Siang’s political secretary.

Bravo Gerakan

After chickening out from a similar poll in Bukit Gelugor, thanks to the koro syndrome of the MCA, the BN is back in the running. For more on koro syndrome, read here.

Bravo Gerakan for not running away from responsibility and for not shaming the grand old coalition (GOC).

Encik Mah, I salute you for having testicular fortitude! Itulah anak jantan. Unlike the sulking MCA, you are not abandoning your supporters.

In the May 5, 2013 General Elections, Mah polled 20,086 votes against 27,399 by the late DAP’s rep, Seah Leong Peng, giving the latter a majority of 7,313.

By not contesting in the on-going Bukit Gelugor by-election, the BN is giving the impression that it is no longer a national coalition and from now on will contest only in places where it stands a fair chance of winning.

Or is the MCA, despite being rejected by the Chinese, is still mightily influential in the BN that its every wish is fulfilled by the leadership of the GOC?

In the Internet age where images can be a powerful tool, Dyana Sofya youthfulness and look, is an advantage. Even an old timer Umno activist like my friend is fascinated by her.

In another SMS, he wrote: “But can we blame the papers & the people for their interest in Dyana? She’s young pretty thing. She’s news.”

More than just look

But it has to be something deeper than her look. The fact that she is a young Malay woman representing a Chinese-dominated opposition party is, to me, the real fascination.

Just days ago, a former female deputy minister from Umno noted with alarm that the DAP’s internship programmes were attracting many young Malay participants, most of whom are well educated.

There be must something particularly strong by way of push and pull factors to encourage a young Malay like Dyana Sofya, who hailed from an Umno family, to join the DAP and be an active member.

While the BN campaigners and their cyber troopers are having a field day maligning her, they should perhaps spare some time to understand why this sort of things are happening. Why young educated Malays are joining the DAP?

Instead of blaming others for their woes, leaders of the GOC parties should look at themselves and not treat the rakyat with disdain.

As for by-elections, they are an early indicator of the things to come four years down the road. Wallahuaklam.

* Datuk A. Kadir Jasin is a former New Straits Times group editor-in-chief.

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