My first electoral experience as a candidate was the Serdang State Assembly by-election in Selangor on 7th January 1969, when I was 27 years old and I lost the Opposition “blue-ribbon” seat by a small majority of 607 votes because of split votes in a three-cornered contest.
Four months later, in the 1969 general elections, DAP won the Serdang state assembly state seat with a 3,314-vote majority, one of the 13 Parliamentary and 31 State Assembly seats won by the DAP in the party’s first general election contest.
Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud is 26 years old and she lost the Teluk Intan parliamentary by-election with a wafer-thin majority of 238 votes.
Worth noting is the electoral experience of the Selangor Menteri Besar, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim who lost heavily in his first electoral foray in the Ijuk State Assembly by-election in Selangor in April 2007, but in less than year, Barisan Nasional lost the Selangor State Government for two consecutive general elections to Pakatan Rakyat.
Electoral defeat is not the end of the world.
In fact, Serdang by-election in January 1969 was not my only electoral defeat, as in the 1999 general elections, seeking to ensure that the new Barisan Alternative could win every possible parliamentary seat, I moved from my three-term Tanjong constituency to the risky Bukit Bendera constituency, where I suffered a 104-vote defeat – forcing me out of Parliament for the first time since 1969.
What is important is keep faith with our political principles and objectives, never to succumb to setbacks and pressures, trials and tribulations, to remain firm in our purpose and convictions to bring about political changes where the old and divisive politics of race, corruption and abuses of power is replaced by the new and inclusive Malaysian politics of harmony, justice, freedom, accountability and good governance.
Dyana is fully committed in her political principles and ideals. As she said in her “So near and yet so far” statement after the by-election results on Saturday:
“I accept the outcome positively, and vow to strengthen my resolve and continue fighting for the hopes and dreams of all Malaysians.
“This is not the end but merely the beginning. If there is one thing I have learned from the last two weeks, it is that there are thousands if not millions of Malaysians who also believe in the goal of ‘Malaysianising’ Malaysia. And so, to each and every one of you out there, I promise that the day will come when we will all roar together for a new Malaysia.”
I call on Malaysians not to lose faith but to ensure that the wafer-thin by-election loss in Teluk Intan becomes the stepping-stone to national victory for a new Malaysia tomorrow.
I call particularly on the young generation of Malaysians regardless of race, religion or region to rally behind Dyana to bring about new politics, new mindsets and a new Malaysia!