THEY say the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. For these five young politicians, it’s more like the day after tomorrow, because they’re all candidates in the 13th general election. R.AGE spoke to them to find out what’s life like as a young election candidate, and what their plans are for their respective constituencies.

Barisan Nasional, Sitiawan, Perak state seat

As a local, Ting knows Sitiawan like the back of his hand. He has had many jobs, including being a salesperson for his family’s fitness centre and a National Service trainer. Ting hopes to be able to make a solid contribution to his hometown.

What are the challenges you face as a young politician?
I need more time to get to know the people because compared to the more experienced politicians, I lack engagement with the people, especially the elderly folks.

What inspired you to enter politics?
In my college years, I approached Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha to officiate a camp. His speech during the camp inspired a lot of people, including me. I decided to join MCA and work under him because I see him as an outstanding leader.

Do you sometimes wish for a less public life?
Not at all. I enjoy mingling with different people and my family is very supportive of what I do.

What plans do you have to improve your constituency?
To provide welfare funds for single mothers and the elderly, set up mini service centres in new villages, build entertainment centres for the elderly and help needy young people enrol in vocational institutes. I also want to establish a reward system for families with children who are in higher learning institutions and lastly, to invite investors from China to invest in local businesses.

What are the most important issues young people face today?
These days, a bachelor’s degree is very common and the requirements to land a job is higher. As the environment becomes more competitive, young people have to be more creative and innovative in getting a good job.

Where do you see Malaysia in five years?
Malaysia will definitely be better developed under BN and as the government’s transformation plan goes on track, we see Vision 2020 becoming a reality. We would have left the middle income trap to be a high income society and of course, everyone will be living in harmony under BN.


Barisan Nasional, Keranji, Perak state seat


A “baby” in the political arena? Not at all! Though Wa is the youngest candidate to be fielded by MCA, he is fully ready to take on the challenge of serving the people. The economics graduate from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia has big plans to make Kampar a better place.

What are your challenges as a young politician?
I find that the older businessmen in Kampar are not that convinced by a newbie. So, it was harder for me to network with them.

What inspired you to enter politics?
Actually I didn’t plan to enter politics that soon but sometimes fate works in unexpected ways. I started working with Datuk Lee Chee Leong as his personal assistant, and somehow I just ended up where I am today.

What plans do you have to improve your constituency?
I plan to promote tourism in Kampar to provide more job opportunities for the younger generation and improve the local economy. There are a few tourist locations such as the agarwood (also dgfev online casino known as gaharu in Malay language) plantation, Gua Tempurung and Kellie’s Castle that people don’t know about, and I see potential in these areas.

What are the most important issues young people face today?
Young people want to pursue a career of their choice. We can help them get into college to study the course of their choice.

Where do you see Malaysia in five years?
Still a peaceful country and of course, I hope the economy will be better. I see potential in small-medium enterprises (SME). Hopefully, our government will lower the taxes for SMEs and offer them more loans.

Pakatan Rakyat, Damansara Utama, Selangor state seat

This Cambridge graduate has an impressive academic record, and left a lucrative career in engineering to join politics. She believes she can make a difference, and has been working hard on the campaign trail to convince the people of Damansara Utama to give her their mandate this Sunday.

What are your challenges as a young politician?
Sometimes I get comments like “your face looks so young” and they are doubtful as to whether I can deliver but at the end of the day, it is not about my looks and more about what I would be doing. Moreover, the young candidates that were elected in the 2008 elections have performed well. So, people have been more receptive towards the younger candidates. I believe I can persuade my voters that I will be able to deliver.

What inspired you to enter politics?
It’s my dream to make Malaysia a better place, a land of opportunity for all regardless of race, religion and income level. Wherever you live, I want everyone to have the right to happiness, success and not be hindered by their social classes. It’s a big dream and the first step to realising that is to stand for elections. That’s why I’m here.

What is it like being constantly in the public eye?
I still go to hawker stalls and “yum cha” at night. It’s just a bit more visibility and that is not a problem for me because I have nothing to hide.

What do you think young people want from this election?
Young people seek more freedom of expression and opportunities to excel. It is important we have enough jobs for young people to achieve their dreams. Hopefully by changing the political landscape, young people will be able to achieve their dreams in Malaysia instead of going overseas to do so.

What plans do you have to improve your constituency?
Security and quality of life are my constituents’ concerns. They want a better and safer public place. I will be focusing on these two needs with three solutions and that is process, policy and programmmes.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
It depends on whether I win or lose. In five years, if I win hopefully I can make the Selangor government more accountable. There is a lot of room for improvements and we need to reduce corruption and financial debts for the peoples’ benefit. I see myself more matured as a politician, and hopefully I will make a good impact on society.

Tan Kok Eng, 33,
Barisan Nasional, Bandar Tun Razak Parliamentary seat

Tan has had 13 years experience in politics, but he has actually been immersed in political life for much longer. All his life, he has been learning from his father, former Bandar Tun Razak MP Datuk Seri Tan Chai Ho.

Is being a young candidate an advantage or a disadvantage?
An advantage of course, because I am young, energetic and spirited. At the same time, some people think I’m fresh and inexperienced but with my team’s help, I think I have managed to convince my constituents to vote for me.

What inspired you to enter politics?
My dad. I grew up seeing him helping many people and solving their problems and I want to follow in his footsteps to continue helping the community in Bandar Tun Razak.

What do you think young people want from this election?
Stability in politics and economy which I think BN has achieved. And with the introduction of PR1MA (Perumahan Rakyat 1Malaysia), we are helping the young people to own houses.

What plans do you have to improve your constituency?
I’m looking to get the housing development programme on track so that it can be completed on time. There are also problems with the drainage system, traffic congestion and increasing crime rate to be solved.

Pakatan Rakyat Seberang Jaya, Penang state seat


Afif’s passion for politics started when he was only 13 and he has always wanted to be involved in developing Malaysia into a better nation. The down-to-earth medical doctor-turned-politician describes his constituency as his “best buddy”.

What are the challenges being a young politician?
It is common for the people around you to be skeptical of your capability, but what is important is just to be yourself and staying committed to the course that upholds your principles.

Is being a young candidate an advantage or a disadvantage?
It’s an advantage because you have the edge of bringing in new and vibrant ideas into your campaign and groundwork. I also understand better the aspirations of the younger generation and relate myself well with their issues. Besides, I represent a new face and hope for Malaysia.

What inspired you to enter politics?
For 15 years I observed closely our nation’s politics and the need for change is a must. Therefore, I believe that entering politics is the road for change and a better society.

Do you feel that you have less personal time now?
The keyword is time management. Everyone needs time for their his personal leisure and rest. With proper time management, as hectic as it gets; you will still have time.

What plans do you have to improve your constituencies?
Creating a cleaner, greener, safer and healthier Seberang Jaya by emphasising on the importance of hygiene in public areas and building more infrastructures such as libraries, recreational parks and public sports facilities.

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