From activism to politics
Activists Dobby Chew and S Arutchelvan make a foray into politics to contest the Aug 12 state elections.
Photographs by Djohan Shahrin
Seri Setia is a state constituency in Selangor with an ethnic composition consisting of Malay (54.13%), Indian (24.38%), Chinese (19.70%), and other ethnicities (1.79%). Residents in the vicinity enjoy having breakfast in Kelana Jaya.
The Seri Setia seat is seeing a four-cornered fight with Pakatan Harapan, Perikatan Nasional, Muda, and an independent in the Aug 12 state polls. Muda's central executive committee member and candidate for Seri Setia, Dobby Chew, seen here, has been involved in various forms of community work over the years.
Dobby, who holds a master's degree in international human rights law, campaigns and engages with customers at a restaurant. Despite representing a small party, he is determined to stand alongside other politicians and bring about new political narratives.
Some are cynical, while others offer him words of encouragement to continue fighting and serving the community. His fighting spirit remains strong despite having limited resources.
A customer skims through a pamphlet featuring Dobby and Muda president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman.
Dobby, who has worked extensively on the death penalty and anti-torture campaign, discusses local issues with the residents in the area, attempting to gather information about issues that affect them and the community at large.
He distributes his campaign pamphlets to some people milling about at a motorcycle parking space during a walkabout.
Dobby is invited to an afternoon tea event in Kelana Jaya. He helps himself to some refreshment and interacts with the community leaders present.
He introduces himself to the community representatives. All four candidates vying for the Seri Setia seat were invited to the event, but only two of them were seen in attendance.
Pakatan Harapan candidate for Seri Setia, Fahmi Ngah, introduces himself to the attendees.
Dobby listens and jots down various pieces of information from the attendees about the needs and issues faced by people in Kelana Jaya.
Elsewhere, Parti Sosialis Malaysia's (PSM) central committee member and candidate for Kajang, S Arutchelvan, is also busy campaigning. Here, a poster of Arul, a grassroots activist and social advocate, is seen as part of his campaigning for the state polls.
PSM machinery uses a four-wheel-drive vehicle displaying Arul's image during their campaign trail in Kajang. The seat will see a three-cornered contest between Pakatan Harapan, Perikatan Nasional, and PSM.
Arul, an economics graduate from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, engages in politics as a larger platform to voice societal issues in the legislative assembly if elected as a representative. Here, Arul, along with several party members, are seen traveling from one area to another, campaigning.
Arul meets residents and distributes his campaign pamphlets. Despite being a prominent activist and working hard for the marginalised, exploited, and downtrodden communities, mainly estate workers, in the country, his journey into politics has been a difficult one, full of ups and downs.
He visits an elderly resident in Jalan Reko. The residents have been slapped with an eviction order, and he has been fighting for the fate of those who have lived here for decades.
Arul meets with the owner of a car workshop. With only a few days of campaigning left, candidates are going all out, offering their aspirations to the community before the curtain falls on the campaign and people head to the polls on Aug 12.
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