BY BOO SU-LYN
The Malay Mail Online
MAY 25, 2014
TELUK INTAN, May 25 — In a country where only one out of 10 MPs is female, activist Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan lauded Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud’s bold step forward into the murky political world dominated by men.
Ambiga, a former Malaysian Bar president turned activist, also decried the sexist attacks that the 26-year-old DAP aspirant has suffered in the Teluk Intan by-election campaign.
“As a woman, I’m happy to see more and more women coming up to fight the battle in the political arena,” Ambiga said at a DAP fundraising dinner here last night, attended by some 2,000 people.
“We are happy to see more women in Parliament,” added the former chief of election watchdog Bersih 2.0.
The 13th general election last year saw only 23 women being elected into the 222-seat Parliament.
The ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition has 14 female federal lawmakers, while the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has nine, out of which the DAP has the most at four.
Dyana Sofya, whose physical attractiveness has been highlighted frequently in the run-up to polling day on May 31, was recently the target of a smear campaign.
The Malay Mail Online reported that posters featuring her image alongside a bikini-clad actress — and to whom Dyana Sofya bears a striking facial resemblance — were disseminated in predominantly Malay residential areas in Changkat Jong over the past few days.
Her politicial foes from Umno, the most recent being Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, the minister in charge of urban wellbeing, housing and local government, have also reportedly questioned if Teluk Intan voters were supporting a candidate just because she wore lipstick.
Despite Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) care not to play up Dyana Sofya’s looks, many people in Teluk Intan across age and race appear to be smitten with the law graduate, eager to take photographs with the youthful politician.
At the DAP function last night, Ambiga too did not talk about Dyana Sofya’s beauty, but highlighted instead her integrity, courage and independence.
“I salute Dyana for her courage and I salute her for her integrity,” said Ambiga.
Ambiga added that she had first met Dyana Sofya when the 26-year-old was serving as political secretary to DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang in Gelang Patah.
“I was very impressed by her. She has her own mind. People attack her because she’s independent,” said the outspoken activist.
Dyana Sofya will face Gerakan president Datuk Mah Siew Keong, 53, in a straight fight for the Teluk Intan federal seat in Perak on May 31.