– Sakmongkol AK47
The Malaysian Insider
May 28, 2014
Today, DAP is a much-envied party. Its political ideals and more important, the resolute leadership qualities have gained new adherents.
Young and open-minded Malays are not easily taken by the simple labelling of DAP as a racist and chauvinist party. It is seen as a champion for the underdog, champion for rule of law, for good governance, for the pursuit of policies that are fair and just.
It is fully committed to making changes through the ballot box. It is not a militant group. These are causes that gain traction among Malaysians of all races.
A practical and strategic choice
The choice of Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud as its candidate for Teluk Intan is both practical and strategic. It was not a choice that went down easily among the DAP grassroots initially.
Eventually, as I have noticed over and over again, the wisdom by the DAP’s CEC prevailed.
As Teluk Intan is a majority Chinese seat, it was logical to put up a Chinese DAP candidate. It is also an incumbent seat held previously by the late Seah Leong Peng – a DAP MP.
Putting up a Chinese candidate would have definitely secured Chinese support in any circumstances; but the political impact would just be that – DAP once again would have confirmed its legitimacy as the preferred choice by Chinese.
It would only reaffirmed DAP’s Chineseness as the expense of improving its image as a party working on a bigger national presence. A bigger national presence that can be gained by promoting a Malay candidate.
DAP cannot confine itself as a perpetual opposition as it is usually seen as, but it can be an important part of government. As I always say in my ceramah, kita semua mahu naik Roket, pergi ke Bulan mahu dapatkan Keadilan.
Support from the Chinese in Teluk Intan is just an academic point. If the Chinese had voted for Datuk Mah Siew Keong, he would have won on the last two previous occasions.
The fact that he did not, showed that he has no powerbase among the Chinese. He cannot get Chinese support and he is contesting against a Malay who will get Malay support – how can Mah wins?
Can he hope to gain from the Chinese this time? He will not because there have been no changes in the political climate of which he can leverage on.
The people are angry at many issues – increasing cost of living, worsening race relations seen as being created by Umno bully boys – aggression can only come from the big boys; political bullying by Umno and its surrogates.
Mah is seen as impotent to stand up against these issues. So, what positive points are there in Teluk Intan now which could reverse Chinese thinking which did not on the last two occasions when Mah Siew Keong lost? Nothing. So by logic alone, how can he hope to secure Chinese support?
For DAP, the Chinese in Teluk Intan is already its vote bank and its own fixed deposit. The battle ground is the Malay heartland and to a lesser extent, the Indian vote.
Malay factor a bigger national presence and national interests
The decision to field Dyana confirms that DAP acknowledges the Malay factor as a reality in Malaysian politics.
Putting up a Malay candidate has the immediate effect of breaking up the Umno stranglehold on the Malay mindset. It is indisputable proof that DAP is committed to strengthening its Malaysian ideal of inclsusiveess – something that Umno is afraid to do.
Teluk Intan Malays will see this move as a much sacrificed concession on the part of the DAP and this goodwill can only invite reciprocal goodwill. It will attract more Malay support in Teluk Intan.
DAP makes no pretentions that it wants to attract more Malay support. There is nothing wrong with this. Choosing a Malay candidate is a move that takes out the thunder from Umno.
It is now Umno that is caught out with its Malay-first in everything cause. It is now having difficulties in explaining why it, as a champion for Malay first in everything is asking Malays in Teluk Intan to vote for a non-Malay?
Umno unlike DAP is a monolithic bloc comprising of Malays only, real or adopted or made honorary. Their founding principle does not include it being a multi-racial party. While I concede that Umno may say it wants a multiracial nation and its 1Malaysia this and that, DAP has more positivity because it is itself a multiracial party and is committed to a multiracial nation.
The practical thing is, it breaks down the mental block among Malay voters and steals the thunder from Umno. – sakmongkol.blogspot.com, May 28, 2014.
* Sakmongkol AK47 is the nom de guerre of Datuk Mohd Ariff Sabri, the MP for Raub, Pahang.