They dare to join DAP (part 1)

More young Malays are thinking for themselves and not afraid to defy convention in their political choices. It takes courage to go against the grain and those who stand out from the crowd are often vilified for daring to be different. Several young Malay DAP members tell us why DAP best represents their aspirations.

Rara-ing to go

raraYoung Syefura Othman, better known by her nickname, “Rara”, has been involved in activism for a few years before she decided to join DAP this year.

News of the 25-year-old joining DAP became a national talking point, with cyberspace critics labelling her “anti-Malay” in blogs and twitter; while some cybertroopers accused DAP of “making use of” her looks to win Malay votes.

An UMNO supreme council member even went as far as cautioning Malay youths not to fall prey to DAP’s “tactic” of using pretty Malay girls to lure them.

However, Rara takes the accusations in her stride, saying that this shows that “these people have nothing else to find fault with DAP.”

The determined lass finds it easier to disregard the brickbats this time around, as she had previously been attacked for her involvement in a political cause.

“When photos of me participating in the Bersih rally were shared, I was scolded by many people on the internet. They said that I am young and do not know how to think. Some even accused me of being a Special Branch officer!”

“From this experience I learnt to control my emotions and not be affected by rumours. So when I was attacked for joining DAP, I was ready to face it and brush it away with a smile,” she says.

Taking the first step

rThe Diploma in Nursing graduate has a heart for the marginalised. Since her student days, she has been actively involved in several civil society activities including Dapur Jalanan (a soup kitchen).

Rara’s mother who is an active PAS member had previously enlisted her help to get involved in charitable activities. She had also been exposed to PKR through her circle of activist friends.

However, when the time came to sign up as a member of a political party, Rara chose to join DAP instead – she spontaneously filled up the membership form one day. This came as a surprise to many who knew her involvement with various grassroots activities, many questioned her choice.

“Some of my friends were shocked (by my decision) and they asked me why I would join DAP. I explained to them that I was attracted to DAP’s open culture. DAP is a party which gives space to young people to get involved in politics,” she says.

“My family took my choice positively because they trust me. We are open and each of us have our own thoughts and political affiliations -some in my family support UMNO, some support PKR, but it’s okay.”

Breaking racial barriers

r3“Many people have called DAP a ‘racist’ party, that is not true at all. Even before I joined DAP, I never felt that it was a racist party, because I knew Malays and had Malay friends were in the party.

“People have accused DAP of being controlled by the Chinese because it has many Chinese leaders and members. I hope in the future more Malays can join DAP to prove this wrong.

“It was not a problem for me to communicate with other members in the party. I feel accepted in the big DAP family. DAP is anti-racism, it is a party that accepts Malays and all races.

“I am sad to see so many insults being hurled between races (in Malaysia). It’s time for us to move on from this. At a time when there are many divisive voices, we need to be united as Malaysians, more than ever.

“There are those in Perkasa who always claim to champion the rights of Malays, but when Malays themselves face problems, like in Kampung Chubadak, they didn’t lift a finger to help… This proves that those in BN are only pretending to help the Malays… they are actually helping their cronies.

“Young people are fed-up with BN-rule. They are looking forward to see a change of government, they want to give a chance to other parties to rule. This is what it means in a democracy.” – The Rocket

(* To read the full version of this article and other stories, buy the September issue of The Rocket)

Stay tuned for Part 2 & 3

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