Saturday, February 17, 2007

Meet my new comrade - Sdr Tony Pua

Tony Pua - Meet DAP's new star
Soon Li Tsin
Feb 17, 07 4:56pm

Mention Tony Pua and rest assured there will be different reactions.

The 34-year-old former CEO of a public-listed IT company, has sold all his shares in January making his switch to politics irreversible.

He has now picked up a new portfolio as the economic advisor to DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.

Hailing from Batu Pahat, Johor, Pua received scholarships to pursue his 'O' and 'A'-Levels in Raffles Institution and Raffles Junior College respectively in Singapore.

He later pursued a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics under a scholarship in Keble College, Oxford University.

Upon returning to Malaysia, he secured a position with a global consulting firm for two years before setting up his own company.

In his second interview with malaysiakini, Pua talks about his affinity for politics, his new position as economic advisor and being compared to fellow Oxford-graduate and Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin.

Malaysiakini: There seems to be this excitement that has been generated over your decision to join DAP. Do you know why it is so?

Pua: The reason why people have been excited could be because I am an Oxford graduate, I’m a CEO of a public-listed company and that I’m willing to put away all that to join politics. I’m sure this has happened before ... joining established parties is not rare, what’s rare is joining the opposition.

What is the position that you have with the party?

I’m the economic advisor to secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and I’m also the executive editor of the party’s English newsletter, Rocket.

What were your reasons for entering politics and joining DAP?

I’ve always been interested in politics and I’ve always been sympathetic to DAP. Whether joining DAP would best further the cause of Malaysians from my part and I think you’ve read before that there was a time I had given serious thought about joining maybe a think-tank of the government because I saw hope in the reform pledges that (Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) made so I thought there would be hope for Malaysians.

But that quickly fizzled out and that made my decision to join DAP an easy choice. The key (determining factor) was the timing [...] waiting for the right successor (for my company) and when I had no interest in the company aside from a sentimental one and it (the company) could still continue to grow.

I believe that it is now more or less taken care of.

How did you decide on DAP instead of other parties?

The timing was also expedited by the fact that some of the leaders have been chasing me since late 2005. I had my blog so (DAP leader Lim) Kit Siang was one of those that’s very keen on education policy. That was one way that we got to know each other. And I was introduced to (Lim) Guan Eng through a mutual friend and that’s how we sort of moved from there.

What are your plans for the party?

The key things to do is to strengthen the party particularly in the short term before the general elections, help with various aspects of it such as organisation, planning and publicity and as what my new title would say, policies specifically related to the economy as well.

Will you be running in the next general elections?

I’ll leave that to the party to decide (smiles)

The comparison between you and Abdullah’s son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin is unavoidable and has been made by certain quarters. What is your take on this?

I would be flattered to be compared with the PM’s son-in-law and from what I read he is one of the most powerful persons in Malaysia and I would most certainly be flattered if I was compared side by side with him.

I am just a political rookie and I’ve not been in politics before (laughs). I think the fact that we graduated form the same institution shouldn’t be relevant because what matters is the principle that we believe in and whether we use whatever we have learnt from school, whatever training we’ve received for the betterment of Malaysians in general.

That should be the yardstick that I would like to be measured in, not so much where I graduated.
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