Open letter to the people of Teluk Intan — Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud

DAP's candidate Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud (right) greets residents during a walkabout session in Teluk Intan, on May 19, 2014. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
DAP's candidate Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud (right) greets residents during a walkabout session in Teluk Intan, on May 19, 2014. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

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MAY 29 — To the good people of Teluk Intan,

It has been an exhausting but exhilarating two weeks since I was nominated by my party to be the candidate for the Teluk Intan by-election.  I have experienced more in the last two weeks than any time in my 27 years of age.

Suddenly, I became the centre of attention of UMNO Ministers who could not resist taking digs at my looks.  Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan asked voters not to support me just because I put on “lipstick”.  Datuk Zahid Hamidi remarked that I am “not so pretty in person”. Datuk Ahmad Maslan stressed that even his wife, or Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman’s, would win if it were a beauty contest.

My looks and appearance are not important at all in this very important by-election.  I did not sign up with DAP to take part in beauty pageants.  I call upon the voters of Teluk Intan to judge me for my ideals, my principles and my dreams for a better Malaysia.  I want to win this election not because of my appearance, but because of my ability to make a difference in the Malaysian political landscape in the highest legislative institution of the country.

My opponents have attacked me viciously behind nameless blogs aligned to Barisan Nasional (BN), as well as anonymous leaflets denigrating me with fake pictures and spurious allegations of my moral ethics.  During the visits to some evening markets, there were UMNO bullies who heckled, disrupted and attempted to block the campaign trail.

There were even ministers who insinuated that I did not have a law degree or am not a qualified lawyer.  The fact that I have proven that I’ve been called to the Malaysian Bar in 2011 was clearly irrelevant to BN, which is obviously desperate to win by hook or by crook.

The most vicious of the attacks came from a former Minister who accused me of being a “traitor” to the Malay race.  It clearly does not matter to these people that the real traitors to the race are the BN leaders who abused their powers, enriched their friends and families and indulge in corruption at the expense of ordinary Malays and Malaysians.

These dirty and vicious tactics from our opponents will not waver my will to fight for the rights of all Malaysians, especially for those who are marginalised and discriminated against.  I will not be intimidated and I will not be a traitor to Malaysians.

While UMNO leaders labelled me a “traitor” to Malays, Gerakan leaders attacked me relentlessly of being a closet Malay-extremist for my alleged links to right-wing Perkasa.  The BN is persisting with its tried and tested divide and rule approach where they give different messages to different races.

Let me make myself very clear.  While I was asked by my mother to assist with administrative tasks such as registration of attendees and pinning of corsages on VIPs during the inception of Perkasa when I was still a student more than 5 years ago, I was never involved in Perkasa’s activities and never have I been a member.  Even my mother distanced herself from Perkasa and became inactive once she found herself in disagreement with their activities and principles.

On the contrary, my upbringing in an UMNO family and seeing first-hand how Perkasa functions convinced me that DAP has the best platform and ideals to pursue a more democratic, just and economically prosperous Malaysia.

I am convinced Malaysia is broken after 57 years of racial politics via divide and rule by BN.  I am saddened to see how BN leaders and their proxies like Perkasa incite the various races to fight each other, instead of fighting for each other. 

I want to prove to Malaysians that you don’t have to be a Chinese to help a Chinese, a Malay to help a Malay, and an Indian to help and Indian.  I want to lead by example to build a country where a Malay can help a Chinese, a Chinese can assist an Indian and an Indian can support a Malay. Impian saya adalah untuk meMalaysiakan semula Malaysia. (My dream is to Malaysianised Malaysia again)

I wish to express my immense appreciation and gratitude for the love and kindness bestowed upon me by the good people of Teluk Intan.  The warmest welcome and affection from of all races — Malays, Indians, Chinese, have only reaffirmed my belief in this country and to strengthen my resolve to stand up for Malaysia.

With the support of the voters of Teluk Intan, I look forward to fulfilling my promise to move to and live in this beautiful and historic township. I promise to serve the people with commitment and dedication, and to make sure that the Teluk Intan “roar” rocks the Malaysian Parliament. 

* This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of the Malay Mail Online.

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