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 a few candidates to watch in gauging which way and how hard the electoral winds are blowing in Selangor.
Shuhaimi Haji Shafiei has led a stellar political career during his two terms as State Assemblyman for the constituency of Sri Muda (now Kota Kemuning). He is good evidence that there are gentlemen in politics, despite the widespread negative perceptions of politicians in the country.
Born on the 27th of February 1968, Shuhaimi got his start in politics with the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) back in 1984 at his father’s behest. He started with the youth wing and his oratorical skill soon saw him rise steadily through the ranks. However, his political career took a sharp turn when he withdrew from UMNO in 1994 after several comments made by senior UMNO leaders didn’t sit well with his principles. Like many opposition politicians, his political reawakening occurred at the start of the Reformasi movement in 1998. It was during this period that Shuhaimi made his political comeback, this time no longer as a member of UMNO but a member of PKR.
Besides his position as State Assemblyman, he was also appointed as Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali’s political secretary, a career highlight for a politician in PKR. The position afforded him wide political influence and yet that didn’t affect his humble and gentle nature. His easy charm made him accessible to residents in the former Sri Muda constituency. Among his key contributions there include facilitating the building of various places of worship of different races in Sri Muda and providing adequate funding for Chinese type national schools and also Tamil national type schools. This won him support among the voters.
The recent re-delineation exercise affected his seat in Sri Muda, forcing him to now contest in the newly created state seat of Sungai Kandis. Despite this, Shuhaimi has accepted the party decision with grace. “I do not find contesting in Sungai Kandis troublesome. I am used to dealing with Malay communities.” More than 70 percent of Sungai Kandis voters are Malays.
For Sungai Kandis, Shuhaimi has big plans to improve the infrastructure. “From my observation, one of the pressing issues affecting voters in Sungai Kandis is the road infrastructure. I plan to widen the roads leading up from KESAS to Bulatan Batu 5 in Jalan Kebun to help ease traffic congestion. I also hope to improve the welfare of residents considering most of them come from the bottom 40 percentile. Many of them support bringing development and public transport into the area.”