Tony Pua created history in the 14th General Elections when he won the Damansara parliamentary constituency with the highest majority nationwide.
“I’m not going to claim credit for this,’” says Tony with a laugh when asked about the 106,903 victory margin. “This couldn’t have been achieved without the Election Commission gerrymandering," he adds.
The Damansara parliamentary seat (formerly known as Petaling Jaya Utara) was among the urban constituencies which saw a big increase in voters after the redelineation of electoral boundaries; an exercise that worsened malapportionment and created super-sized constituencies, effectively going against the “one-person, one-vote” principle.
“There needs to be a thorough study in regards to the constituency so that this obscene majority doesn’t get repeated again," says Tony.
In an interview with Astro AWANI, the former businessman, who sold off his stake in a Singapore-listed company to join the Democratic Action Party (DAP) in 2008, was the first politician who raised the 1MDB issue in parliament in 2010.
“I joined politics to uphold truth and justice." says Tony. "You have to be brave enough to be in politics," he adds.
(A bullet in an envelope, along with a threatening note, was mailed to Tony's constituency service center in August 2010).
“In 2010, when I saw that the government took on a five billion ringgit loan that was invested fully into the little-known PetroSaudi, it piqued my interest. It was strange that such a large sum of investment was put into one company - an odd move for a government that usually has its investments diversified."
"All the money was put into a company that no one really knew about. That raised suspicion.”
Tony went on ‘digging’ for more information and by 2014, he found more discrepancies with 1MDB’s investments. “The 1MDB contracts were mainly set-up to allow money to be siphoned into foreign companies linked to cronies of Barisan Nasional leadership," Tony says.
Tony, who graduated from Keble College, Oxford tells why he decided to return to Malaysia and join politics. At just 29-years of age, he became financially well-off when he sold off his stake in Cyber Village of which he was chief executive.
My business was in Malaysia but it was listed in Singapore. At that time, my clients were banks, including CIMB. I sold off my stake in the business as I felt that money was not everything. If I stayed on, I would have earned more money, become richer.
But I had reached a level where my home loan was paid off and I had enough money to put my children through university. And if anything had happened to me, my wife will be taken care of. We need to have bigger goals in life. I am very thankful for the blessings I’ve received. And it was time for me to pay back to society.
The Pakatan Harapan manifesto promises to investigate and reform 1MDB, FELDA, MARA and Tabung Haji - mainly institutions that was created and managed for the benefit of bumiputera Malay interests.
These institutions are meant to protect the interest of Malays but instead, they were abused by those in power to profit themselves. Hence, you see a lot of scandals in FELDA, MARA, Tabung Haji.
By eradicating the reason why these scandals take place - mainly corruption - and ensuring that whoever gets appointed to lead these institutions are people of integrity, we are actually going to raise the level of returns these institutions can provide to the Malays who are supposed to be under their care.
By cleaning up these institutions and (reforming) the Ministry of Finance procurement mechanism, there will be more money in the government and the people that will be benefit most are the poorest segment of the society.
Tony on being a member of parliament for all Malaysians
My voters can see for themselves, the kind of issues that I’ve raised in parliament. It’s all about corruption, 1MDB, GST, wages, inflation and the economy. I hope that, through Tony Pua as a member of parliament, the rakyat can see that DAP is not a party that fights for the rights of Chinese. Regardless of the person’s race, if he or she is corrupted, we will raise the issue.
Tony on taking on Pakatan Harapan in the driver’s seat in a brand new government. He and Bangi Member of Parliament Dr. Ong Kian Ming have been appointed as special officers to help Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng. The six-month stint is without pay.
We are confident and have proven ourselves outstandingly in Penang and Selangor in terms of governance. And we want to translate that to the federal government. We want to prove ourselves to be way better that the government of the past.