KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 — Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir has come out in defence of DAP’s young Teluk Intan candidate Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud, who has in recent days faced attacks for her youth and inexperience.
Marina praised Dyana for her rebuttal piece against Umno supreme council member Datuk Razali Ibrahim on the pro-Bumiputera policies of Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), calling her a “smart” individual who was well ahead of “most politicians”.
“Very smart girl this... she can think, she can articulate, she can write. That’s three up from most politicians already,” the daughter of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad wrote on her Facebook account on Monday.
“But very few of the top gun politicians write their own speeches, let alone any articles,” the social activist said.
“In any case, why are people so against her because she is young? Najib Razak was 26 when he first became a Minister. Dyana’s 27 and only vieing for a Parliamentary seat. We should have more young people for the fresh young ideas they bring,” she added.
Dyana, a Perak-born lawyer and UiTM graduate who joined DAP in 2011, turns 27 in December.
She has become the target of an online smear campaign. Her critics have also painted her as a politician who entered the Teluk Intan seat by virtue of her youthful good looks.
A picture of a woman in bikini, purportedly Dyana, made the rounds but was later proved to be a Filipino starlet. Another picture of her alongside right wing Malay politician Perkasa’s Datuk Ibrahim Ali was also circulated, raising questions about her commitment to a more equitable Malaysia.
DAP has rejected the “sexist” attacks, saying that the young Malay was picked on merit and as part of the party’s bid to boost its multiracial credentials.
Dyana faces Gerakan president Datuk Mah Siew Keong in a straight fight for the Teluk Intan parliamentary seat.
Mah won the Teluk Intan seat in 1999 and 2004, but lost to DAP’s M. Manogaran in 2008 with a 1,470-vote majority.
DAP’s Seah Leong Peng defeated Mah in 2013 with a 7,313 majority before succumbing to advanced bladder cancer on May 1, this year.
The voter base in Teluk Intan is 42 per cent Chinese, 38 per cent Malay and 19 per cent Indian, making a total of 60,349 registered voters.