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.
Unlike the other colourful personalities in PKR, Hee Loy Sian, two term Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Selatan, came as a surprise to many people when he was chosen to contest in Datuk Seri Wan Azizah’s former State Assembly seat in Kajang. “There’s not much we know about him, although he is an experienced politician,” a resident of Kajang tells Selangor Journal.
His decision to contest Kajang is rather odd given that most political candidates usually start at the state level and end their political careers as Member of Parliament. What was behind the decision to go the other way round? “I decided to become an ADN because I needed a change of environment. It was I who requested the party to let me contest in Kajang. I also wanted to know what it is like to be part of the ruling government. It is tough being a member of the Opposition in Parliament.”
He rose to power in a way that stunned his political rivals, all of whom underestimated his steady manner and seemingly staid personality. His is an extraordinary story, an unremarkable process engineer working for a Taiwanese firm in Malaysia after his graduation from the University of Malaya whose destiny changed when he decided to join PKR after the birth of the Reformasi movement in 1998. Like many of PKR’s early recruits, he never positioned himself as a politician belonging to this or that faction. Hee Loy Sian especially makes an effort to be seen as a “neutral”.
However, his unassuming nature is one of his greatest assets. His political career has so far outlived those of all his political peers in PKR. In Parliament, the ruling coalition got a taste of his tenacity when he continued to apply pressure against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak by tabling a motion of no confidence against him for the RM 2.6 billion alleged “donation” paid into his personal bank account. Among his other career highlights include fighting for KIDEX to be scrapped.
While his inscrutable and unassuming nature has won him support from Kajang voters in the run up to the elections, he is known as someone who is measured and who chooses his words two levels below his true feelings. When asked how he thinks Kajang voters will vote, he had this to say, “I think people have made up their minds and I believe that Kajang will stand firmly behind Pakatan Harapan.”