Dyana Sofya’s nomination as DAP candidate for the Teluk Intan by-election on May 31 might have come as a surprise to many,  but this pursuit of the Malaysian Dream had been our core principle and objective since the DAP’s formation 48 years ago in 1966 – to represent Malaysians regardless of race, religion, age or gender. Dyana Sofya is not the first and not the last Malay candidate to be nominated by the DAP.

Even before the first general elections contested by the DAP in the 1969 general elections, the DAP had fielded a Malay candidate Daing Ibrahim Othman in the Tampoi by-election in 1967. In the 1969 general election DAP fielded nine Malay candidates and two won on its ticket, namely Ibrahim Singgeh who was elected as the Perak State Assemblyman for Tapah Road and Hassan Ahmad who became the Negri Sembilan State Assemblyman for Si Rusa. Daing Ibrahim Othman was the DAP parliamentary candidate for Johore Bahru Barat and State Assembly candidate for Tampoi but lost respectively  to the then Alliance candidates, Mohamed bin Rahmat and Ellas bin Udin.

Subsequently in the 1974 GE Mohd Salleh Nakhoda Itam and Daing Ibrahim Othman won the Guntong and Pasir Puteh state seats in Perak respectively. In the 1978 GE, DAP fielded a record number of Malay candidates, nine at the parliamentary level and 36 at state level. However only Mohd Salleh Nakhoda Itam won the Guntong state seat.

In the 1982 and 86 GE, Fadzlan Yahza was elected DAP State Assemblyman for Pasir Bedamar. In the 1990 GE, DAP’s Ahmad Nor became the first Malay candidate for the party to win a parliamentary seat, winning the Bayan Baru parliamentary seat in Penang while Mohd Asri Othman was elected DAP State Assemblyman for Dermawan in Perak. In GE13, DAP Malay candidates achieved the best results yet. Zairil Khir Johari won the Bukit Bendera parliamentary seat in Penang, while Mohd Ariff Sabri and Tengku Zulpuri won the Raub parliamentary seat and Mentakab state in Pahang respectively. Ariffin Omar is the senator for DAP representing Penang in the Dewan Negara (Senate).

The DAP is the first Pan-Malaysian political party with branches and activities in all the states, including Sabah and Sarawak. We have a Kadazan State Assembyman in Sabah, Dr. Edwin Bosi and expect to have an Iban elected representative soon. As the DAP has demonstrated right from our formation in 1966, the DAP does not want a Chinese Malaysia, Indian Malaysia, Malay Malaysia, Kadazan Malaysia or Iban Malaysia but  a Malaysia for all Malaysians.Malaysia will always be a plural society.  We will always be proud to be Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans and Ibans, but let us be prouder as Malaysians.

This in a nutshell is what the Malaysian Dream is all about.

Lim Kit Siang
DAP Parliamentary Leader
MP for Gelang Patah