With the Sarawak state polls around the corner, DAP has unveiled its official mascot called 'Ubah warrior' to join its electoral hustings.
First introduced in the 2011 state election, the mascot complete with a kalambi (Iban ikat vest) and kelabit jewellery necklace, has now grown into an adolescent rhinoceros hornbill.
Notably, the Ubah warrior now dons a red cape embossed with a bunga terung (eggplant flower) tattoo, a sacred symbol of an Iban boy's passage into manhood.
In Iban tradition, a boy gets a coming of age tattoo after a trip to the jungle.
"The Ubah bird has grown up - from a kid to adolescent. The (plush doll's) size is bigger. We also have the shield and spear which symbolise Ubah's warrior status," said Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen.
"(It shows that) we are moving into a new territory with the courage, spirit and determination of a warrior," he said in an interview with Malaysiakiniand KiniTV.
Chong added that it also means Sarawak DAP has grown up too.
Design more complicated, expensive
The Ubah warrior comes in two sizes. The bigger one will be sold at RM100 each, a 66 percent hike in price compare to its predecessor in 2011, while the price of the smaller version has doubled to RM20.
Chong said the party had to fix a higher price due to the depreciation of the ringgit – a 30 percent drop against China's renminbi since the last state election.
"Ubah was manufactured in China. We were supposed to order the mascot in August 2015, but it was delayed as we had to finalise the design. We only put the order in October 2015. This has caused 10 to 15 percent increase in costs," he said.
Chong added that the new design is more complicated, thus more expensive.
The party has ordered 10,000 big Ubah and 30,000 small Ubah mascots.
There was an overwhelming demand when it first made its debut five years ago, Chong said.
"We had to do a second and third order then."
He expressed hope that the mascot will again be well received in the coming state election.