(Media Statement in Teluk Intan on Thursday, May 29, 2014)
The 10-day Teluk Intan by-election campaign since Nomination Day on May 19 has produced many firsts in the history of by-elections in Malaysia – like the most sexist attacks, most political bloopers including blatant political gangsterism against a woman candidate, most lies and calumnies and the most number of UMNO Ministers and deputy Ministers to appear at a by-election not contested by an UMNO candidate.
The baseless, vicious and slanderous attacks on the DAP/PR candidate Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud were just gross and simply unimaginable, highlighting the total lack of chilvary of male political leaders in UMNO/BN but also the pettiness of women UMNO/BN political leaders who also indulged in such personal attacks on Dyana, and the failure and cowardice of all women UMNO/BN politicians who dare not raise a single protest against such sexist attacks on Dyana.
From the dastardly posting of fake swim-suit photogragh of Dyana (actually of Filipino actress Pauleen Luna) first on social media and then distributed in the Malay kampongs including a mosque in the constituency; the “lip-stick” fantasy of UMNO Housing Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan; the puerile attacks by the Home Minister, Datuk Zahid Hamidi; the boast by the Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan that his wife or the wife of Deputy Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman would win in a beauty contest against Dyana; Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir’s obsession with Dyana’s different clothes; the UMNO/BN leadership have been stripped completely naked as belonging to a shockingly low-class political genre.
Neither the UMNO/BN leadership nor the BN candidate for Teluk Intan, Datuk Mah Siew Keong, wanted to engage Dyana in a debate on the national political issues highlighted in her manifesto, as they only wanted to unleash a systematic and unethical campaign of character assassination and personal attacks to break her political will and fighting spirit, hoping that she will fly the “white flag” of surrender even before polling day of May 31.
The Gerakan and UMNO leaders joined in an unholy axis in a campaign to apply maximum political pressure to cause her mental torment, the latest being the personal attack by the Penang Gerakan State Chairman on Dyana, alleging that instead of having 3Bs (beauty, brains and bravery) that she has 3Ns – “no integrity, no honesty and no sincerity”.
A parliamentary by-election is a contest of the vision for the future not an exchange of epithets, which is why I have not said a single unkind word against Mah.
It is sad that Gerakan, UMNO and BN leaders think that the only way to get votes in Teluk Intan is to run down Dyana and launch personal attacks against her.
I can write a long thesis about how the person who coined the “3Ns” outrage himself best personifies the “3Ns” in the Barisan Nasional political firmament, but I have more important things to do than waste time and energies on such a matter.
But we should not allow these negatives to drown out the positives in the by-election, for we want history to be made in the Teluk Intan by-election and for it to remembered as the occasion when Malaysians dare to dream of a Malaysian tomorrow where Malays, Chinese and Indians regard themselves and vote as Malaysians first and their racial differences second, with women and the youths set to play a major role in deciding the future of the country.
And we want Malaysians to remember that we embark on this historic journey for a Malaysian Dream from Teluk Intan on May 31.
There were many “negative firsts” in the Teluk Intan by-election. But there have also been many “positive firsts” – starting with the candidature of Dyana Sofya as DAP/PR candidate for the by-election.
People have said that the DAP was very “brave” to make such a decision, but the DAP leadership was “brave” to make such a decision because we believe that the people of Teluk Intan will be “brave” to support it and to launch off a Teluk Intan whirlwind of political change throughout Malaysia after May 31.
Gerakan/UMNO/BN leaders have questioned the 3Bs (beauty, brains, bravery) of Dyana. They say that she is only a tool and a puppet of DAP, as she should not be named as the candidate as she had only served as my political secretary for a year.
Do they know that the current DAP MP for Batu Kawan, Kasturi Patto, was my political secretary for less than a year before she was nominated as a parliamentary candidate in the 13th General Elections.
Dyana has 3Bs but we nominated her as a candidate for her 2Bs of brains and bravery.
I have had a long list of my political secretaries who make their political mark in the country, including Chow Kon Yeow, former Tanjong MP and currently Penang senior exco; Teresa Kok, the MP for Seputeh and former Selangor senior exco; Datuk Teng Chang Khim, current senior Selangor exco; Kerk Kim Hock, former DAP secretary-general and Member of Parliament, “Superman” Hew Kuan Yaw – not to omit the late P. Patto, outstanding MP and Perak State Assemblyman.
The Teluk Intan by-election has also created many “negarive firsts” which must be rectified – like the many issues which UMNO/Barisan Nasional Ministers and leaders have avoided explanation or accountability, like the worsening climate of nation-building with racial and religious extremism rearing their ugly heads; unchecked corruption, abuses of power and misgovernance highlighted by the RM32 million Bank Rakyat which erupted during the Teluk Intan by-election campaign, deterioration of educational standards and the growing disparity between the rich and the poor, which would be aggravated by the introduction of GST next May.
What is very conspicuous by its absence in the by-election campaign is Barisan Nasional government explanation of the MH 370 disaster and tragedy, with 239 passengers and crew on board, and the latest reports that despite 82 days of multi-national air, sea and sub-sea search, all search efforts might have been in vain as the search in the south Indian Ocean was the wrong area altogether.
The voters of Teluk Intan have a second rendevous with history on May 31 and I look forward to their “write history, create history” for the second time on Saturday.