You will hear me roar

— Dyana Sofya
The Malay Mail Online
May 15, 2014

MAY 15 — My mother was active in politics. As her kids, my brothers and I were exposed to politics at a very young age. We would frequently meet our politician uncles and aunts during dinners, teh tarik sessions, Hari Raya open houses and birthday parties. Some of them made it to ministerial posts in later years, while some were not as lucky.

Growing up observing my mother taught me many, many things. With the good came also the bad. I soon learned that politics was a dog eat dog world which required one to have nerves of steel and skin as thick as oak before one could even begin to participate.

My older brothers in particular saw what my mother endured. They read the books she brought home from work. They saw the dirty games and Machiavellian tactics that my mother had to put up with in the name of “perjuangan.” For the party. For the country.

They also saw how she was betrayed by her own comrades and best friends for the sake of position and power. As a result, they have sworn themselves off from the world of politics.

It all began in the late 1980s, when my mother was a UMNO worker. She had loyally served the party for years, but all her sacrifice and hard work counted for nothing when the newly constituted UMNO Baru of Dr Mahathir decided not to rehire staff that had been inclined towards the “Team B” of his opponent, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, during the 1987 UMNO election.

At the time, she was just about to return to work after maternity leave.

She had just given birth to me.


Twenty years later in 2007, I began the first year of my Bachelor in Legal Studies at UiTM. Malaysia had moved on from Mahathir by then, the Prime Minister being Pak Lah, a former “Team B” man.

As social movements in Malaysia began to gather pace — such as Hindraf, Bersih and anti-ISA rallies, my friends and I began to get interested in politics. We googled, we read, and we became aware. The next obvious step was to begin attending political ceramahs of various parties and groups. Some were pro-establishment, but mostly were anti-government. When my mother found out, she asked me: “Aren’t you afraid? You might get arrested for being pro-opposition.”

It was the same thing some of my friends said to me. My only reply was to say that some of these “anti-establishment” leaders who fought long and hard for what they believed in despite suffering under detention were now prominent leaders and would be, when history is written fifty years from now, be seen as heroes.

Only cowards fear the judgement of history.


In 2011, I made the decision to join the DAP. Once again, my friends thought: “There she goes again, doing something no one would think of.”

The truth is, I didn’t do it just to be different. I did it because I felt Malaysia needed a new kind of politics. I had seen how racial politics was nothing but a scam. My mother is Malay, yet she was shunned by the very party that claims to protect Malays. Hence, the racial model is nothing but a means of power-hungry leaders to stay in power. The only way forward for our country was to break this model of racial politics.

And so I chose DAP. For its principle of multi-culturalism. For its principle of standing up for all Malaysians, regardless of race and religion. For its principle of doing what is right, despite the risks and repercussions. I knew that if I made this choice that I believed was right, I would not have to fear the judgement of history.

Of course, joining DAP came with a price. I was immediately scrutinised and lambasted. False stories were created. My words were twisted. I was labelled a “pengkhianat.” I was also called many other names.

Just a few days ago, rumours began swirling around that I may be a possible candidate for a parliamentary seat. I was of course just as surprised as everyone else. But I was even more surprised by the wave of attacks that ensued.

My personal details were misused. My phone number was distributed and I have since been the target of hundreds of lewd messages. Another thing I have realised — Malaysian society is misogynistic!

And now, to tarnish my image further, there appears to be a photo of me allegedly wearing a bikini. While I think the Pinay actress in question is very attractive, I feel this really displays the level of guttural politics that our opponents would go to, especially against a female. Guys, please grow up.

Try as they may, they will not break me. My mother and my mentors have taught me well. They had warned me that there would be days like these. As much as I have been attacked, I have also received titanic support from my family, friends, comrades, former colleagues and fellow Malaysians across all age groups, races, faiths and parties.

Many have called to encourage me. Some have said they believe in me. But the truth is, it is Malaysians like them who make me believe in what I’m doing. And it is Malaysians like those who have been attacking me that give me even more reason to continue the “perjuangan.”

As I said earlier, I am confident that I will fall on the right side of history.

And so to my detractors, I wish to paraphrase Katy Perry. You will hear me “roar!”

* Dyana Soya is political secretary to Gelang Patah MP Lim Kit Siang.

  1. #1 by lbn on Friday, 16 May 2014 - 5:22 am

    Dyana, I still have good hope for Malaysia with young people like you. Be brave and strive ahead! You have my support.

  2. #2 by albertloh on Friday, 16 May 2014 - 6:06 am

    There are many young and capable Malay intellectuals and professionals who are still watching over in the silent majority. They will be our champions for a new Malaysia. They will emerge to save the country in due course.
    Nurul Izzah, Khairul Khir, Rafizi, Syed Izzadin (the author of an article entitled there is no such term as race in Islam) and now Dyana Sofya are just a few courageous we have seen. Don’t forget even Khairy Jamalludin is considered as one.
    These people will put Perkasa, ISMA and extremists to real shame.

  3. #3 by loo on Friday, 16 May 2014 - 8:26 am

    Well this is a fitting song to her by helen reddy. and even if she is not selected for teluk intan, the fight still carry on. And If Ibrahim Senggeh were still alive, he could be his god grand dad. Ibrahim was Tapah Road/Ayer Kuning DAP adun.

    It would be extremely great if PAS were to give up ayer kuning as well

  4. #4 by bruno on Friday, 16 May 2014 - 8:40 am

    Many,in fact all of Kit Siang’s former political secretaries have became MP’s.The most outstanding and well known is Teresa Kok.And the latest a daughter of a former labour leader and MP.

    • #5 by loo on Friday, 16 May 2014 - 12:28 pm

      Whoops! But Teresa Kok had lost in Ipoh in 1995. You can tell your good friend about it. That was the dark days in DAP where the leadership and the KOKS campaign going on beri strong

  5. #6 by bruno on Friday, 16 May 2014 - 8:51 am

    Dyana Sofya a young,smart and educated Malay lady should be given the chance to contest in Teluk Intan.The DAP should field and give her this opportunity to give the big stick to the Gerakan candidate,backed by the most powerful political party in Malaysia,the Umno.

    It is good for the party’s image to have this young lady be the next MP of Teluk Intan.Lines of young Malays will be lining up blocks long waiting to sign up for party membership.It will also be good for party and grassroots morale.That is if the DAP is really serious about chasing Umno/BN out of Putrajaya in GE14.

  6. #7 by Justice Ipsofacto on Friday, 16 May 2014 - 8:54 am

    The one hundred lions that karpal spoke of after he was ridiculously found guilty of sedition are streaming in and roaring.

    Be afraid, umno. Be very very afraid.

  7. #8 by bruno on Friday, 16 May 2014 - 8:57 am

    Dyana Sofya,a young,smart and educated Malay lady should be given the chance to contest in Teluk Intan. The DAP should field and give her this opportunity to give the big stick to the Gerakan candidate, backed by the most powerful political party in Malaysia, Umno.

  8. #9 by bruno on Friday, 16 May 2014 - 9:02 am

    It will be good for the party’s image to have this young lady be the next MP of Teluk Intan. Lines of young Malays will be lining up blocks long waiting to sign up for party membership. It will also be good for party and grassroots morale.That is if the DAP is serious about chasing Umno/BN out of Putrajaya.

  9. #10 by winstony on Friday, 16 May 2014 - 9:23 am

    According to the Tiger of Jelutong, when he was casting about for a political party to join, his choice rested on the DAP as the best political party in this country.
    And he was not disappointed.
    Welcome to the DAP.

    • #11 by loo on Friday, 16 May 2014 - 12:30 pm

      I fully agreed with you. DAP is the best party in Malaysia. It’s the best party among the 3 component parties to lead PR whether Tian heavenly snake chua likes it or not

  10. #12 by cskok8 on Friday, 16 May 2014 - 11:53 am

    UMNO Baru just celebrated its “68th” anniversary. I thought it was formed in 1988? Someone is very bad at mathematics.

    • #13 by pulama on Friday, 16 May 2014 - 12:51 pm

      Not that they cannot count. Someone just want to confuse people into thinking the new one is like the original.

  11. #14 by pulama on Friday, 16 May 2014 - 1:08 pm

    News just published on Malaysiakini, 12:28PM May 16, 2014, Inmarsat says raw data is in Malaysia’s keep

    But the acting minister announced yesterday . .
    ///”The raw data is with (satellite company) Inmarsat, not with Malaysia, not with Australia, not with Malaysia Airlines, so if there is any request for this raw data to be made available to the public, it must be made to Inmarsat,” Acting Minister of Transportation Hishammuddin Hussein said.///

    ///”I don’t know who to believe,” CNN aviation analyst Miles O’Brien said. “But isn’t it awful that it’s quite evident somebody is lying here? Somebody is lying. We’re talking about something that involves a missing airliner, now 70 days. Lives lost, families shattered. And there (are) people lying about this. This is absolutely reprehensible. .”///

    Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: Who has satellite data that shaped search?
    By Catherine E. Shoichet, Holly Yan and Mike Ahlers, CNN May 16, 2014 — Updated 0207 GMT (1007 HKT)

  12. #15 by Bigjoe on Friday, 16 May 2014 - 3:20 pm

    Me think Najib protests too much over Mkini articles/comment. Pussycat trapped in a corner, snarling back.. The truth comes too close to home…

    • #16 by loo on Friday, 16 May 2014 - 5:27 pm

      Kindly don’t insult pussycat. In California, it did fight back a labrador. More like hedgehog

  13. #17 by Just_True on Friday, 16 May 2014 - 8:42 pm

    My dear Dyana, you have truly inspired me – given me a hope for this beloved country. I am proud of Malaysia because of people of conviction like you. The road ahead is indeed not easy – you have been taught well by your Mum & your mentors. Don’t give up.

  14. #18 by worldpress on Friday, 16 May 2014 - 8:57 pm

    I think they baru have ronbed the asal worth billion asset, flags, logo, intelligent rights…..any highlight

  15. #19 by Noble House on Saturday, 17 May 2014 - 3:05 am

    Yes, sock it to them, Dyana! Prove that women are no pushovers and gutter politics have no place in our society.

  16. #20 by loo on Saturday, 17 May 2014 - 12:43 pm


  17. #21 by alantiong95 on Saturday, 17 May 2014 - 4:23 pm

    Fight on Dyana, prove those misogynists wrong, prove that multi-racial politics is the way forward for this nation

  18. #22 by narasimam on Sunday, 18 May 2014 - 10:14 pm

    “my mother taught me many, many things.” and u turned out just right. Happy mother’s day to that wonderful person. hmmmmmm, if only sha; wat’s her name again had …………

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