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.
In tapping Hilman bin Idham to be the state assemblyman and running-mate in the constituency of Gombak Setia of which Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali will be contesting the Parliament seat of Gombak, he has chosen a charismatic young leader who rose to prominence shortly after 2010 for participation and expression in the Hulu Selangor by-election, an offence under the notorious University and University Colleges Act in 1971 that prohibited all expression and participation in politics by Malaysian University students.
Hilman, 29, has spent most of his young adult life in politics, with little business or executive experience to speak of. He steadily built his credibility while working for the Menteri Besar of Selangor Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, as a special assistant.
For the past several years, Hilman has diligently served in the Selangor government. It is clear for all to see that Hilman looks up to Azmin Ali as a role model. “Azmin is one of the younger politicians whose charisma made it easy for me to work with him. This gave me the opportunity to share my political ideas with him and gain valuable feedback.”
Despite his initial political exposure in Indonesia, he believes that Malaysians possess a unique democratic identity that brings with it unparalleled challenges. “Malaysia’s political landscape is unique simply because for the longest time race based politics have taken centre stage. While this presents its own challenges, Malaysia has the potential to emerge as a country with genuine democratic institutions and that can only happen with a change of government.”
Being one of the younger politicians being fielded in this election under PKR comes with certain privileges. For one, his youth brings a fresh perspective in a landscape dominated by older experienced politicians. “My age is no barrier in politics. Several of my colleagues who were fielded as political candidates were about my age. I have noticed that the constituents in Gombak Setia value a fresh face in politics. I think it is time for young people to get involved in politics for the future of the country. This election, in my constituency alone, there are 10,000 new registered voters. I believe that most of these new voters have the same concerns and challenges I face as a young person. I think my youth will definitely be an asset in helping these new voters relate to me better as their representative.”
On why young people should vote for change, Hilman said, “I put it to you that we are in a situation where there are only two political scenarios. Either we vote for change for a better Malaysia or we return to the dark ages of Barisan Nasional. The choice is ours.”