This GE14, Seputeh, the urban parliamentary constituency in the Federal Territory will witness two strong women of different generations tussling for the seat.
Four-term incumbent MP Teresa Kok looks unshakeable in the face of the BN challenge mounted by newcomer Chan Quin Er, MCA’s 31-year-old contender.
Kok is political giant, having amassed the highest majority of votes nationally. She won Seputeh easily in GE12 (36,492-vote majority), retained the seat with a bigger margin in GE13 (51,552-vote majority) and looks all a sure bet to win again in GE14.
Kok is confident of making it a hattrick but concedes that this time round her majority looks set to be reduced due to redelineation. She, however, says the redrawing of boundaries will work in her favour as it may persuade fence-sitters to express their anger at seemingly unfair gerrymandering.
Chan, who was a deputy public prosecutor in the Attorney General's Chambers, on the other hand counts on youth and gutsy nature, appearing confident that she can put up a good fight. She nevertheless holds Kok in high regard, both as a politician and as a woman.
Ironically, Chan’s biggest challenge is to win over her father, a 70-year-old MCA stalwart in Seputeh.
Chan’s father holds views that resonates with many of the elderly Chinese voters in the Seputeh constituency. This is an urban seat that has seen tremendous transformation and development.
Her father happened to be at home during the interview where he took the opportunity to badger his daughter with his own questions and concerns, ignoring the presence of the reporters. He hectored her over what she would do for if she does get elected.
"What can you do for us?” he asks his daughter on her plans to look after the interests of the elderly in the community. "Not materially - but when I want you, are you there? I want a place where I can express myself - I like to share (my thoughts) with younger people. By the age of 70 or 80, I will physically degenerate. So, have a place for us (elderly)," says the senior Chan.
I want laws to penalise those who neglect their parents and provide tax exemptions to those who provide financial support for their care
"This is my father speaking," explains Chan as she continues to answer to her father as a candidate rather than as a daughter.
Visibly shaken, the red-faced Chan gamely addressed her father’s concerns, outlining her far-reaching manifesto for the elderly.
She says; “I want laws to penalise those who neglect their parents and provide tax exemptions to those who provide financial support for their care."
"I also have plans to set up an e-sports arena for the young people in Seputeh. Likewise, for the older citizens, we can set up recreation places where they can go jamming or (practice) tai-chi," she adds. "It is part of my manifesto to provide ride-sharing facilities for the elderly," says Chan, who grew up in a musically-inclined family.
Chan also wants to push a law that makes whipping mandatory for convicted snatch thieves. Snatch theft occurs with alarming regularity in Seputeh and Chan is determined to see this punishment introduced. She is motivated by the bitter experience of witnessing her own mother becoming a victim.
"I have so much to give and I can make the dialogue (in Parliament) better. I have the courage to disagree. I am not here to undo the past but to bring change," said Chan.
She said that traffic is one of the main issues she is going to tackle as this is a common complaint voiced by the urban residents.
"I represent politics of hope. We need to see a wave of change. I want my peers to be more participative in politics. When I get into Parliament, I will speak for all Malaysians. I am a Malaysian first, Chinese second," said Chan, admitting that she joined the MCA because of her heritage.
Chan has strong views against corruption and believes MPs should not be partisan when confronted with this issue. She is willing to sacrifice her position to uphold this principle.
Others might think it is premature for her to contest the Seputeh seat this time but she believes she should seize her chance.
"If I do not contest this time, would this chance (to contest) ever come? I am not going to wait until I am ready. I am going to take it now," says a determined Chan.
I wish the new MCA candidate dare to take a stand on issues related to corruption and abuse of power.
Kok, meanwhile, welcomes young women such as Chan entering active politics and says that she looked forward to the sparring.
She takes the MCA to task for not making a stand on financial scandals or address corruption for fear of rocking the BN boat.
"I wish the new MCA candidate dare to take a stand on issues related to corruption and abuse of power. This opportunity is an exposure for such young women to be known by the media and voters," says Kok. "I wish her good luck," Kok adds.
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