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