This coming 15th general election (GE15) will be Anthony Loke’s first time leading DAP into the polls and the new party secretary-general has a long-term strategy in mind.
For starters, he wants to use this election as an opportunity to offer a more multiracial line-up of candidates to present a new narrative for the party, which has often been painted by its opponents as being “anti-Malay” and “anti-Islam”.
To that end, Loke said the DAP is fielding more Malay candidates this time, such as Young Syefura Othman in Bentong, Syahredzan Johan in Bangi and Sheikh Umar Bagharib Ali in Ayer Hitam.
“Nationally, this is an important narrative for us because, from this election, we want to project a multiracial line-up.
“Overall, I want to push this election to transform our image, in terms of our candidates. That’s why you will see there will be a number of Malay candidates.
“This round, compared to just one that was Tengku Zulpuri Shah’s last election, I already announced three Malay candidates and there will be more to come in the coming days,” Loke said to Malaysiakini in an interview at the DAP headquarters yesterday.
He said this while explaining the reasons Young Syefura was chosen to replace incumbent Bentong MP Wong Tack as the candidate in GE15.
Yesterday, Loke said among the reasons the party decided on Young Syefura as their Bentong candidate was because she is seen to be more popular among the locals in the area, compared to Wong, and he cited ground sentiments and the results of a survey that the party had commissioned.
The former minister said he told Wong about his plan to transform the party via a more multiracial candidate line-up.
“To do that, of course, I cannot just simply put up people. They must at least have some experience and exposure and have shown their sincerity and work – and Young Syefura fits the bill.
“She has been the assemblyperson there. Young Syefura also has a national profile, she was elected into the (party’s) central executive committee (CEC) and the fact that she’s a woman – because we also want to promote more women candidates this round,” Loke said.
From the negotiations within Pakatan Harapan, DAP managed to gain three additional seats to contest that were formerly Bersatu seats, such as Gerik, Tanjong Karang and Lipis.
While DAP had said that Tengku Zulpuri would be fielded in Lipis, the party has yet to make any announcement on the Gerik and Tanjong Karang seats.
Loke indicated that they would field Malay candidates in these Malay-majority seats but acknowledged it would not be easy for DAP to win.
“This is something which is necessary for DAP to do. We acknowledge these are…very challenging seats but we are willing to try,” he said.
Whether their candidates win in those areas in GE15 or not, the party intends to continue serving those constituencies well after the election.
Politics is about having a long-term plan to achieve the party’s long-term struggle, Loke said. So, in order to get support from the rural Malay areas, they first have to introduce their presence.
“These are steps we have to think about, we have to introduce ourselves to the rural Malays, we have to contest there, we have to send our people there.
“Eventually, post-election, whether we make it or not, we have to have a presence there and hopefully, over the years, we will gain their trust and support,” Loke added. – Malaysiakini