With state elections slated to take place slightly more than two weeks from now, political parties are announcing the candidates that they will be fielding in the tight race for control of the state assembly.
One of the parties, the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (MUDA) has recently come under fire for nominating a candidate who made fun of the OKU (disabled) community in a viral video two years ago.
Netizens slam MUDA for nominating Iswan Ishak
As part of its candidate lineup announcement for the upcoming state election, MUDA revealed on Twitter that Iswan Ishak would be contesting for the Repah seat in Negeri Sembilan.
Despite holding the deputy president post for several associations, some sharp-eyed netizens quickly recognised him as the one who mocked the OKU community in a now-deleted TikTok video back in 2021.
Not surprisingly, Iswan’s nomination garnered much criticism from netizens who were displeased by MUDA’s decision to field a candidate with a checkered record.
‘Even (mat) rempits can become candidates now.’
‘Does MUDA support those who mock OKU people?’
This sentiment was also echoed by OKU activist group Siuman, who questioned MUDA’s pick and said that while Iswan had apologised for the act, it was best for him to “unlearn ingrained ableism” as the country didn’t need “more ableists in positions of power”.
Salam @_amiraaisya @SyedSaddiq @amirxabdhadi— SIUMAN ♿🧠 | #AmendAktaOKU (@KamiSIUMAN) July 22, 2023
We note that this candidate has already apologised for making fun of the disabled, but will he be attending the disability sensitisation training you requested?
1/2https://t.co/EB9vgPuQBU https://t.co/ljtP8WZgB3 pic.twitter.com/slwEB4kul8
MUDA deputy president responds
In response to Siuman’s criticism over Iswan’s nomination, deputy president Amira Aisya wrote an official statement on Twitter defending the party’s decision.
In the statement, she wrote that all MUDA candidates participating in the state election and high-ranking leaders have been instructed to attend disability sensitisation training, adding that Iswan had publicly apologised for his actions and expressed readiness in undergoing the training.
Wasalam.— amiraaisya (@_amiraaisya) July 22, 2023
Terima kasih Siuman.
Untuk makluman, kami telah pun rancang agar semua calon MUDA dan pimpinan tertinggi MUDA jalani disability sensitisation training.
Semua ada masa silam mereka. Yg paling utama adalah kesediaan untuk belajar.
Iswan sudah pun memohon maaf secara… https://t.co/3AdwVVTJ5y
She also urged the public not to judge anyone based on their past alone and said that Iswan aims to highlight the plight of the OKU community in Negeri Sembilan.
Don’t punish people for their past. But give him a chance to do more for the future.
What did Iswan Ishak do in 2021?
For those out of the loop, Iswan first achieved notoriety back in 2021 when he uploaded a now-deleted TikTok video of him pretending to be disabled by walking in a crooked manner in order to net a parking spot at a KL mall.
Shortly after the video went viral, it earned the wrath of OKU Sentral president and Senator Ras Adiba, who shared the video on her Instagram account and demanded an apology from Iswan.
As for Iswan himself, he told mStar in an interview that he had no intention of mocking the disabled and claimed that he wanted to highlight the issues faced by the community.
However, he admitted that he had failed to ensure that the message was sent in an accurate manner and apologised for it.
Watch the clip here:
What do you think of Iswan’s nomination? Should he be given a second chance or not? Let us know your thoughts!