KUALA LUMPUR, April 27 ― Despite repeated denials, political analysts foresee the DAP paying dearly at the next polls over the latest intimate photos purportedly of its two rising Malay-Muslim stars.
With the clock already ticking away to the 14th general elections that must be called by June next year, the lack of a formal complaint with either the police or the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) will continue to shadow the careers of Bukit Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari and Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud, a member of the party’s Youth wing, for the next few months.
“If it is not them in the photos, they should lodge a police report and sue those spreading these fake photos, otherwise the public will think it is them and this will lead to dwindling support in the 14th general election,” Jeniri Amir told Malay Mail Online when contacted.
However, the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak associate professor does not believe the latest photo scandal will snuff the political careers of either Zairil or Dyana Sofya, who made her electoral debut at the 2014 parliamentary by-election in Teluk Intan, Perak.
“DAP will continue to have the support from its strong supporters, but it will see the number of ordinary supporters, mainly the Muslims, dwindling,” he said.
Oh Ei Sun, adjunct senior fellow at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said the support DAP has among Muslims has been on the decline since PAS pulled out from the now defunct Pakatan Rakyat federal Opposition pact.
Because of that, he said the latest photos touted as “fake” by the DAP will only dent its support among Muslims slightly, even as both PAS and Umno continue to portray the secular Opposition party as anti-Malay.
“DAP enjoyed a certain degree of Malay support primarily due to its alliance with PAS earlier and that has been dropping ever since, so this latest purported scandal will not have a huge impact at all among the Muslims,” Oh said.
A third political pundit concurred with Jeniri on the need for Zairil and Dyana to “come clean” to clear their names in the latest scandal.
“The longer they wait to lodge a report with the authorities, the more difficult it gets for DAP to come out of this mess,” said the analyst who declined to be named.
A series of photos showing a man and a woman said to resemble Zairil and Dyana Sofya sharing an intimate moment at an unknown restaurant, including a kiss, have been widely circulated on the internet, along with older images the two politicians have repeatedly denounced as “fake”.
The 34-year-old married Zairil and Dyana Sofya, 30 and single, have also repeatedly denied having an affair with each other.
A father of two, Zairil has said the latest photos of him with his party colleague is a political campaign to discredit them and the DAP in the run-up to the general elections.
Zairil and Dyana Sofya did not respond to a request for confirmation on filing a formal complaint.
When contacted, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said no report was received from either Zairil or Dyana on the matter, while the MCMC declined to comment.