KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 — Selangor DAP’s outgoing chairman Tony Pua may have lost out today at the party’s state-level polls, but received glowing tributes from two party colleagues who had under his mentorship became minister and deputy minister.
Both Yeo Bee Yin and Hannah Yeoh today highlighted Pua’s many contributions to the party and nation, especially against the then ruling Barisan Nasional administration, also lauding the Damansara MP for being a man of integrity who had toiled hard.
Yeo noted that Pua had joined DAP back in 2007 ahead of the unpredicted 2008 political tsunami favouring the then opposition party, also noting the latter’s valuable contributions as DAP national publicity chief in the 2013 and 2018 general elections.
“He led in the planning and execution of DAP social media strategy that eventually allowed us to spread our campaign messages effectively during the last two GEs even though we had probably just 1 per cent of the resources that BN had,” the DAP assistant national publicity secretary said in a tribute on her official Facebook page.
Yeo said Pua was one of the most effective voices in highlighting the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal which later became one of the key factors for the BN-led government’s downfall.
“He had many sleepless nights and sacrificed many holidays (CNY too) to go through the thick documents and accounts to speak out effectively on the issue.
“He didn’t only have the intelligence in raising the issue but also the boldness. Remember Tony was the first MP in Malaysian history to get sued by the PM?” she said, referring to then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s suing of Pua.
She said Pua also had to go in and out of court for many other court cases due to his boldness in speaking out against the allegedly corrupt regime under BN.
Yeo also credited Pua as being the man behind DAP’s volunteer-driven Impian Sabah and Impian Sarawak initiatives, which she said “made it possible for many villages in the most remote parts in Sabah and Sarawak to get basic water and electricity supply as well as assistance in education and healthcare”.
“Although he doesn’t express it, he is a compassionate person and empathises with people at the bottom of the pyramid,” she said, noting that Pua had on many occasions highlighted such cases to her when she was still the Damansara Utama state assemblyman under his federal constituency.
Yeo also noted how Pua was the one who had persuaded her to join politics six years ago and provided guidance and advice throughout her political career from being a state assemblyman in Selangor and MP in Johor and federal minister.
“Tony Pua is an upright and intelligent man with few words. Today, even with a disappointing state party election results, I just want to say this — Tony, I am and will always be proud when I tell people Tony Pua is my boss,” said Yeo, who is now the Bakri MP and Minister of Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment.
Party colleague Hannah Yeoh similarly penned a tribute to her mentor Pua, explaining that he did not make it to the Selangor DAP state committee possibly due to the fielding of new faces in the 14th general elections.
“I believe this is partly caused by the selection of DAP Selangor candidates in the last general elections. 7 out of 15 seats had fresh faces being chosen.
“That’s something Tony has to pay the price for now — the price for taking risk in people,” the former Selangor Speaker and former Subang Jaya assemblyman wrote on her official Facebook page today.
Yeoh noted that Pua’s four handpicked individuals whom he took a chance in were now all serving as ministers and deputy ministers — including Yeoh herself and Teo Nie Ching in 2007, as well as Yeo and Ong Kian Ming in 2013.
Yeoh also pointed to the contributions at the national level by Pua, saying: “If not for his diligence in pursuing 1MDB, Impian projects and publicity materials for the DAP, we would not have won so handsomely. And in the last decade, I never had to second-guess his integrity!”
She also highlighted the fact that being successful in grassroots politics as a party leader require spending time with party members from various branches and in multiple locations, suggesting that this would not be easy when one has to serve at the national level.
“If you are spending time planning and strategising for national issues and DAP at the national level, something would have to give at the local level. I guess this is it,” she said.
Yeoh then went on to say that Pua is now needed to help Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng as his aide in helping Malaysia get back to its feet.
“Gobind and the new Selangor team, you need to keep leading so that Selangor remains the model for the new Malaysia,” she said, referring to Communications and Multimedia Minister and DAP deputy chairman Gobind SIngh Deo who was today appointed Selangor DAP chairman.
Yeoh, who had her last day today as Selangor DAP vice chairman after spending the last 10 years there, said she has now shifted to Federal Territory DAP as she is now the MP of Segambut in Kuala Lumpur.