By P PREM KUMAR / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
CONVINCING some 78,000 voters in the Segambut parliamentary constituency will definitely not be easy for Hannah Yeoh, the DAP candidate contesting under the Pakatan Harapan banner.
Unlike other Opposition strongholds in the city centre, winning the hearts of voters in ultra-urban Segambut, the area that houses the most elite group of Malaysians, looks like an uphill task for Yeoh.
She will definitely be closely scrutinised, as would the other candidates from other parties.
A former stronghold of Barisan Nasional (BN), the Segambut seat was taken over by DAP’s Lim Lip Eng in the last two polls in 2008 and 2013. Lim is contesting the Kepong parliamentary seat this 14th General Election (GE14).
The Segambut seat is a Chinese-majority constituency comprising 59% of the electoral roll, while Malays and Indians constitute 28% and 12% respectively. Lim won GE12 and GE13 with majorities of 7,732 and 19,199 votes respectively.
Segambut consists of mostly elitists and medium to high-income residents.
The areas that fall under the constituency are Taman Bukit Maluri, Desa Park City, Dutamas, Bukit Lanjan, Sri Hartamas, Bukit Tunku, Tasik Perdana, Bukit Damansara, Medan Damansara and Taman Tun Dr Ismail.
Yeoh, a former Selangor state legislative assembly speaker, is in a three-cornered tussle for Segambut, against BN’s Datuk Loga Bala Mohan and Mohd Solleh Abdul Razak from PAS.
Penangite Loga, who served as the deputy federal territories minister since 2013, is a familiar face in the Federal Territories.
Yeoh served as the Subang Jaya assemblywoman for the past five years. Speaking to The Malaysian Reserve, 39-year-old Yeoh expressed her optimism of winning the seat, but does not foresee an easy victory.
She said the transition from a state seat to a federal seat isn’t that much of a leap, as both constituencies face similar issues.
“I don’t see much difference as the people that I am dealing with in Subang Jaya and Segambut are similar, as well as the issues such as the rising cost of living,” she said.
A lawyer by profession, Yeoh said unplanned development and the condition of the roads in the constituency were among her concerns in Segambut.
She said the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has not gazetted a comprehensive development plan for the constituency, which is unbecoming of the city council.
“I feel that there is so much difference in the way things work in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. The plan here is not gazetted yet, but in Selangor, we have a local plan that is gazetted to ensure that the government cannot simply do anything it wishes,” said Yeoh.
The mother-of-two said the Federal Territory Ministry and DBKL are handling development proposals without considering open space or green area for the benefit of the Segambut constituents, as well as the residents of Kuala Lumpur at large.
Yeoh also said that the existing roads will not be adequate to hold the traffic brought in by new developments, which DBKL remains lukewarm.
If elected as Segambut MP, Yeoh said she will highlight the need for transparency on expenditure and services tendered by DBKL.
Yeoh said she intends to use her experience as the Selangor state assembly speaker to exercise the check and balance process in the Dewan Rakyat. She said the Dewan Rakyat and its processes need to be strengthened with the mechanism, similar to select committees under the Selangor state assembly.
“In Selangor, I chaired the Select Committee on Ability, Accountability and Transparency or SELCAT. I can use that experience in the Dewan Rakyat, which also has a number of select committees, but not very effective,” she pointed out.
Yeoh was sworn in as the Speaker of the Selangor state assembly on June 21, 2013, to become the country’s first woman state speaker in history.