Wednesday, May 21, 2014

'Good Looks Is One Thing, Making Good Another', Malay Mail, 20 May 2014

DAP and PAS supporters are seen armed with party flags on nomination day for the Teluk Intan by-election, May 19, 2014. — Picture by Marcus PheongDAP and PAS supporters are seen armed with party flags on nomination day for the Teluk Intan by-election, May 19, 2014. — Picture by Marcus PheongPETALING JAYA, May 20 — Much has been said about the looks of DAP’s Teluk Intan candidate Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud, but politicians and analysts say this is irrelevant when it comes to entering Parliament.
They say despite her youth and attention she’s been receiving on the Internet, Dyana Sofya could genuinely be a shot in the arm for Malaysian politics.
Former Bersih co-chairman Datuk S. Ambiga called her “a breath of fresh air”.
“I think she’s tremendous. She’s got guts for being prepared to enter politics at such a young age. It’s also good to see more women entering the scene,” she said.
“She speaks plainly and speaks her mind. All the sexism levelled at her so far says more about the accusers than herself. She has responded well, and carried herself with dignity.”
Ambiga said she was glad to see that Dyana Sofya had not stooped to the level of the people making statements against her.
“I’m horrified by the comments made about her and hope it has not put her off. She shows great promise against veteran leaders. It’s also good for Malaysia in terms of overcoming gender and age barriers,” she said.
Howard Lee, Dyana Sofya’s election agent for the by-election, said there had been “attacks of all sorts, ranging from her looks to speculation that she is being exploited”.
“Neither she nor the party are going to respond in detail to these non-productive issues. We will stick to more important  issues relevant to the by-election,” he said.
Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil claimed Dyana Sofya was being manipulated by DAP, and that Umno deserved the credit for shaping her life.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, in turn, told Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders to stop making personal attacks against Dyana Sofya and focus on issues such as people’s livelihood instead.
Universiti Sains Malaysia’s political analyst, Dr Sivamurugan Pandian, said the 27-year-old candidate showed a lot of promise for DAP.
“She’s one of the rare Malay candidates in the party and she does appear to be well-groomed,” he said.
“However, it may all depend to what extent is she willing stay on in DAP, regardless of the results.”
Seputeh MP Teresa Kok said that over the decades, it had not been unusual for candidates to enter politics while they were in their 20s.
“For example, (DAP leader) Lim Kit Siang entered politics around age 27, and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak at around 24,” she said.
“I have also met foreign senators, for example from Australia, who entered politics in their mid-20s.”
Kok said there were many MPs nowadays, especially from the Opposition, who started out young.
“We shouldn’t focus on her age but more on her views and principles, which she has expressed so far in interviews and (written) articles,” she said.
Papar MP Datuk Rosnah Shirlin said Malaysian politics would genuinely benefit from young people entering the fray.
“However, experience is also important and can only be gained after many years. What’s also important is her objectives,” she said.
“Is she there to serve or merely be used by certain quarters to achieve a certain political agenda? We can see there is a mixed reaction to her so far. She should also think of the implications of being involved in politics. It would be sad to see a girl with potential being used to fulfill other people’s agendas.”

By Faizal Nor Izham

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