Judge me, not my family history, says grandchild of ex-communist fighter

Ram Anand
Jamaliah said she should purely be judged on her own track record. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

PETALING JAYA, April 26 — DAP’s candidate for the Bandar Utama state seat urged detractors to focus on her merits instead of her family background, after the party was criticised internally for fielding the granddaughter of the late communist fighter Shamsiah Fakeh.

Jamaliah Jamaluddin said that she should purely be judged on her own track record and stressed that she believes in Malaysia’s parliamentary democracy system, following claims that she would have communist ideologies similar to her grandmother.

The criticism came from former National Union of Journalists (NUJ) chief Hata Wahari, who is a DAP member, in an open letter published in Malaysiakini.

“I feel sometimes people just want to attack me and focus on my background instead,” said the 29-year-old Jamaliah when met at the sidelines of the launch of DAP’s election operations centre here today.

“I think people should focus on my own merits, which is that I’m a former Petaling Jaya City Council member,” she added.

Jamaliah also said she was “perplexed” that Hata, whom she has never met, would know her influences and her political ideology.

Hata previously claimed that, based on Jamaliah’s writing, the latter harboured sentiments that leaned towards communism.

“I find it strange that he can know what I’m thinking though he never met me. I believe in Malaysia’s system now. I feel it’s the best system and does not need to be changed. What we need to do is to reform our institutions,” she said.

Selangor DAP chief Tony Pua also defended Jamaliah, saying that the “she is not her grandmother”.

“If you use that argument, we can’t cooperate with the Japanese because they colonised us, you can’t cooperate with the British because they colonised us,” he said.

“She is not a communist. She believes in the parliamentary democracy system, we need to differentiate her from the past,” he added.

Shamsiah was the leader of Angkatan Wanita Sedar (AWAS), Malaysia’s first women nationalist movement and was also a prominent Malay leader of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM).