The True And Fair View

Ahmad Maslan (Chief of Communication for UMNO Malaysia) regarding the candidates for the upcoming Teluk Intan by-elections, said that Mah Siew Keong would beat Dyana Sofya 5-0. Ahmad Maslan (henceforth AM) brought up 5 points as to why Mah (BN’s candidate) is the better choice

Firstly AM compared them in terms of education. As per Bernama, Mah has “a Bachelor of Science from the London School of Economic and Master’s degree from City University London, as well as a law degree from University of East London.” It is also a fact that Dyana only has a diploma in law from UiTM

Clearly such a comparison would be in immense favour of Mah. However, it is important to note that Dyana is merely 27 years old while Mah is 52 (almost twice her age). Dyana should not be looked down upon simply because she has a meagre diploma compared to Mah’s four bachelor degrees

By the time Dyana is 52, she may even have a better qualification than Mah. Education is not a fair playing ground considering the vast difference in their age

AM’s second and third point was regarding experience. He said that Mah was the Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri (ADUN) for Pasir Bedamar as well as a two-term Member of Parliament for Teluk Intan.

AM conveniently forgot to mention that Mah lost twice at Teluk Intan, while Dyana is yet to lose. Primarily because she has never contested prior to Teluk Intan.

Yet again, this is not a very fair comparison as Dyana has only been in DAP for around 3 years and this is her debut whereas Mah is a political veteran and has had his fair shares of victories and defeats

One cannot say Mah is a better candidate simply because he has experience. Everyone needs to start somewhere! In due time, Dyana may be a better representative of the people. Only time will tell such things

AM forgot the crucial age factor when he mentioned that Mah was once “ketua Gerakan Teluk Intan, pimpinan gerakan Perak, setiausaha agung parti, ketua pemuda dan sekarang presiden parti. Dyana ahli biasa DAP.” Was Mah all that at the age of 27? Nope

As to position, Dyana is Lim Kit Siang’s political secretary. You know who else held a similar position? Teressa Kok. She’s the MP who won Seputeh with a 51,552 vote majority in the 13th General Election.

Undeniably it doesnt mean the same would happen to Dyana’s political career, but it does make the mind wonder if Lim Kit Siang has a knack for identifying politicians with a bright career ahead of them

The fourth point is about Mah being backed by “menteri besar, perdana menteri, menteri, agensi kerajaan pusat dan negeri.” How true is that? Mah failed to bring revolutionary changes to Teluk Intan despite being the MP there for two terms

Was it because he wasn’t adequately backed then? What has changed? Are things different now that Mah is president of Gerakan?

While it is true that BN makes up the federal government, forms the state government in Perak, and thus would logically pull strings to help those on their side, Dyana has something Mah doesn’t. B-R-A-V-E-R-Y. Dyana was brave enough to contest in a Chinese majority seat, whereas all this while, Mah has been contesting in Chinese majority seats

Although the odds are stacked against Dyana, I believe she would do her best to bring positive changes if she wins Teluk Intan. Mainly because she has a point to prove and a lot of critics to put to shame.

Point 5 seems like the killer as it would seem that Mah has the home ground advantage while Dyana is viewed as an “outsider.” However, in the past, M Manogaran and the late Seah Leong Peng both defeated Mah at Teluk Intan. Perhaps it is time to face the reality that being born at a place doesn’t mean one a definite winner and/or a better wakil rakyat 

Furthermore, Lim Kit Siang in his blog post rebutted this point by saying, “NOT being local did not prevent two Perak born former MCA presidents – Dr. Ling Liong Sik and Ong Ka Ting – from serving as MPs in Johor for most of their political lives.”

Regardless of the outcome, this will go down in history as one of the most bizarre by-elections thanks to the candidates, their parties, as well as all the dirty politics and cheap promises made

*You can always read this at The Malaysian Insider

The Wrong Mentality

Barisan Nasional (BN) seems to have the wrong mentality when it comes to by-elections. This is despite the fact they have been in power ever since Malaya achieved its independence. BN approaches by-elections with the “vote for me and I’ll do this for you” mentality

Amongst others, BN promised to settle the problem of Tamil schools in Teluk Intan, as well as to give Rela members new uniforms IF and ONLY IF BN’s candidate (Mah) wins the by-election.

When Penang wanted to build a Tamil secondary school, BN opposed it. However, just for the sake of garnering Indian votes in Teluk Intan, BN are willing to fork out money to deal with issues plaguing the Tamil schools in the constituency

The Deputy Minister of Education II had the guts to say, “Jika BN menang, sudah pasti segala masalah dapat diatasi dengan segera.” What is BN implying? That if they lose, despite being the ruling coalition, they are unable to help the Tamil schools in Teluk Intan?

If BN was sincere about helping the people of Teluk Intan, they would have done so a long time ago. As cliche as it sounds, “actions speak louder than words”

Regarding the Rela uniforms, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi said, “If he (Mah) doesn’t win, you must buy it (the new Rela uniforms) yourself.” Could this amount to bribery? ‘Vote for BN and you’ll get a new uniform’. Or worst still, could it amount to a threat? ‘If you do not vote for us, you are paying for your own uniform’

Furthermore, Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek (who is also our Minister of Communication and Multimedia) said that Teluk Intan’s broadband facilities could only be improved if the parliamentary seat was held by a BN representative.

He said that, “This (the improvement of Teluk Intan’s broadband facilities) is a good proposition and can only be realised if the candidate comes from the same party as the one that oversees the local authorities.” Anyone notice the trend? ‘Vote for us and we’ll do this for you. Don’t vote for us and we can’t do it’

I agree with Dyana Sofya (DAP candidate for the Teluk Intan by-election) when she said, “It doesn’t matter who wins this coming by-election, it is still the responsibility of the ministry to improve broadband speed in the area.” BN needs to get their priorities right. They serve the rakyat, not otherwise

The right way to approach a by-election is by capitalising on past performance. If BN has truly served the people in Teluk Intan despite not winning there the past 2 elections, they would have plenty to show for. ‘We have done so and so over the past few years. This is why we would best represent the people of this constituency’

This article can also be found at The Malay Mail Online