The 2018 general elections will largely be determined by the intensity of the opposition coalition’s campaign, the public’s reaction to the ruling coalition’s electoral pledges and, of course, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
At the same time, the quality of individual candidates and the races they run will be central to the opposition coalition’s chances of retaining Selangor. With this in mind, here are nine candidates to watch in gauging which way and how hard the electoral winds are blowing in Selangor.
Any journalist covering Selangor’s political landscape since 2008 can probably count few politicians who are both unquestionably honest and dedicated, who regard politics as an arena for public service rather than for personal aggrandizement.
One of these few is former State Assemblywoman for Taman Medan and Deputy Speaker of the Selangor State Legislative Assembly, Haniza binti Mohamed Talha, one of PKR’s lesser known female political figures, but no doubt a force to be reckoned with. She is currently seeking her third term as State Assemblywoman, this time in the constituency of Lembah Jaya.
Addressed simply and familiarly as Haniza, she is a blunt, no nonsense public servant who studied architecture at the University of Sheffield and a woman comfortable enough in her own skin that she does not need to seek the limelight to feel good about her accomplishments, which are numerous.
Haniza was the key pioneer behind several Selangor State projects, including the setting up of Dataran Anak Muda, an arena for sports and recreation for youth; the food stamp program for poor urban dwellers; and the scheme to brighten and enliven low cost flats.
It is easy to be inspired by her fierce passion to improve funding for schools and raise awareness for special needs children, and you know that when she makes a stand it’s not because she’s been unduly influenced by special interests or for campaign cash. “I entered politics because I believe that good administration can bring lasting changes and transformation to people’s lives. I get a lot of satisfaction seeing my constituents smile and being happy knowing that I can resolve their problems. This is why I believe people have a lot of hope for Pakatan Harapan,” she says of her involvement in politics.
Her architectural background provides her with the insight that improving living spaces can transform the lives of the community. That was why during her first term as State Assemblywoman for Taman Medan, she embarked on a program to repaint low-cost flats. In her second term, she sought to bring the human element by providing aid and welfare programs to her constituents.
Her current campaign in the constituency of Lembah Jaya, a former PAS stronghold has been making great strides. Her reputation in Taman Medan has certainly preceded her. What does she hope to change in Lembah Jaya? “It is a good thing that the party decided that I should be fielded as a candidate here. There’s not much difference between Lembah Jaya and Taman Medan. I believe that my experiences as a two-term representative in Taman Medan will help me do better and improve the lives of my constituents here.”