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Nga's aide chosen for Kuala Kubu Baharu after DAP abandoned hope of Malay vote?

Source says some PH leaders wanted DAP to field a Malay candidate to increase the number of representatives from the community in the ruling Selangor bloc.

3 minute read
Nga Kor Ming has sparked controversy with remarks that allegedly offend Malays.
Nga Kor Ming has sparked controversy with remarks that allegedly offend Malays.

The choice of an aide to DAP vice-chairman Nga Kor Ming to represent Pakatan Harapan (PH) in the Kuala Kubu Baharu by-election came after the party leadership rejected an earlier plan to field a Malay candidate, MalaysiaNow has learnt from a senior source in Selangor DAP.

Pang Sock Tao, who was announced as PH's candidate, was among several names listed by DAP. 

The source told MalaysiaNow that the party leadership had rejected the nomination of Syed Hidayat Syed Hassan, a DAP councillor in the Hulu Selangor Municipal Council.

When contacted, Syed Hidayat said he had no knowledge of being shortlisted. 

He also welcomed Pang's candidacy, saying it would ensure solid support from the Chinese voters amid a divided Malay electorate.

"Because of this division, it is better to field a Chinese candidate than a Malay candidate," Syed Hidayat said.

MalaysiaNow has also learnt that DAP snubbed the views of some PH leaders in Selangor who wanted the party to field a Malay candidate.

"Our partners wanted a Malay candidate so that if we win, at least the number of Malay assemblymen in the ruling party can be increased," a DAP man said on condition of anonymity.

After last year's state election, non-Malay assemblymen formed the majority in Selangor's ruling bloc for the first time in a long time, complicating efforts by the PH-Barisan Nasional (BN) alliance to counter the perception that their coalition government lacks Malay representation.

The last time non-Malays dominated the Selangor state assembly was in the 1969 election, when the Umno-led National Alliance, the forerunner of BN, suffered major losses to the Chinese-dominated DAP and Gerakan, which together with an independent candidate drew 14-14.

With the exception of the vacant Kuala Kubu Baharu seat, only 16 of the 33 PH-BN assemblymen currently in Selangor are Malays. Perikatan Nasional's 22 assemblymen form the largest Malay opposition bloc in Selangor's history.

Pang will run against Khairul Azhari Saut of Bersatu, paving the way for a contest where the racial background of the candidates is likely to play a role.

Kuala Kubu Baharu, which is part of the Malay-majority Hulu Selangor federal seat, comprises 46% Malay voters, 30% Chinese and 18% Indian.

The DAP source said while a Malay candidate was initially "seriously considered", the party leadership felt that anti-government sentiment among the Malays was at its peak due to discontent over rising prices, including the impending petrol price hike.

"Although the Malays form the majority, it was felt that it was futile to ask them to vote for a DAP candidate."

The choice of Nga Kor Ming's aide, Pang Sock Tao, as PH's candidate for Kuala Kubu Baharu shows the DAP leader's rising influence in the party.
The choice of Nga Kor Ming's aide, Pang Sock Tao, as PH's candidate for Kuala Kubu Baharu shows the DAP leader's rising influence in the party.

The choice of a candidate linked to Nga was also "deliberate", said the DAP informant.

"As Nga is seen as the 'very Chinese' face of DAP, it was hoped that the Chinese voters would support his candidate wholeheartedly, especially as there is no question of wooing the Malays in the area."

Nga, the Perak DAP chief, has been embroiled in controversy over recent remarks ridiculed by Malay groups. 

These include a post attacking those boycotting a particular fast food company as part of the global Muslim boycott of major American brands over US military aid to Israel in the ongoing campaign in Gaza.

Nga has also sparked several controversies in the past.

In 2016, he mocked the tradition of giving cash gifts for Hari Raya as a form of bribery, sparking angry protests from Umno.

In 2019, he was investigated for a post on a Facebook account linked to him in which the Chinese were urged to protest the Selangor sultan's decree that road signs in the state should no longer be written in Chinese script.

That same year, during the campaign for the by-election in Tanjung Piai, he labelled PAS as an extremist party and mocked its leaders' Islamic dress.

In the campaign for the 2022 general election, he labelled PAS as the party of the "Taliban" and said Malaysia would turn into Afghanistan if PN came to power

More recently, he caused a stir by invoking the Chinese custom of "feng shui" to justify the sudden announcement of RM5 million worth of government projects in Kuala Kubu Baharu.