KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 10 — DAP’s choice to field more Malay candidates and contest more Malay-majority seats in the upcoming election (GE15) is not a “rebranding exercise” but in line with its stand of being a multiracial party, said its central executive committee (CEC) member Syahredzan Johan.

No other political party could compare with the number of young leaders from multiracial backgrounds that DAP has at leadership levels and among local councillors and branch leaders, he told New Straits Times yesterday.

“In the Johor state election, we fielded Marina Ibrahim in Chinese-majority Skudai. So, this is nothing new.

“But more importantly, DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke has also said that we want to contest in more Malay-majority seats.

“This is a clear indication that we want to explore new areas and demographics, and not just focus on our traditional support base,” he was quoted as saying.

He reportedly admitted that the party had struggled with a perception issue regarding its image, the cause of which he pointed to “decades of demonisation” by political rivals.

“I think it is not a matter of rebranding per se, but a matter of showing our sincerity in working for all Malaysians.

“There is no point in answering the allegations by our political rivals again and again. Our actions should

speak louder than words.

“I believe if we are given a chance to contest in more Malay-majority seats, we have more than enough suitable candidates, and this will again prove that DAP is a party for all,” he was quoted as saying.

Young Syefura Othman, another DAP CEC leader, reportedly expressed her agreement but noted that despite DAP’s strategy of breaking away from the anti-Malay image, there would always be those who repeat other allegations against the party.

“I am proof. I am a Malay woman who wears a hijab. However, I was given the trust by the party to be an election candidate and by delegates to hold a position in CEC.

“If it is true that DAP is anti-Malay, some other friends and I might not have had this opportunity,” she was quoted as saying.