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Ampang voters unhappy with 'pro-developer' candidate

They say Ampang is packed with developers who will continue to take things for granted if they are not reined in.

Nur Hasliza Mohd Salleh
4 minute read
Traffic passes beneath a billboard in Ampang featuring incumbent Zuraida Kamaruddin and her campaign for the general election.
Traffic passes beneath a billboard in Ampang featuring incumbent Zuraida Kamaruddin and her campaign for the general election.

As the first week of campaigning for the Nov 19 polls draws to a close, voters in Ampang are still coming to terms with the sheer number of candidates vying for their support. 

With no fewer than nine candidates from across the political spectrum making their way through the constituency, they are slowly but surely becoming familiar with these aspiring MPs.

But even as they meet with the contenders, shake their hands and listen to their plans and promises, they have criteria of their own against which to benchmark their support for the individual in question. 

Andrew Tan, who is in the furniture and home improvement business, said he for one was not surprised that so many groups were targeting Ampang this time around. 

Tan, 63, said the constituency was becoming increasingly known as a money-maker for developers. 

"Ampang is very crowded and densely populated," he said. 

"But the minute there's an empty site, within a matter of months, someone will be using it for development. 

"It doesn't matter what it is – shoplots, houses. Developers are a dime a dozen in Ampang, and meanwhile the residents can't even find a place to park.

"The minute there's an empty spot, they see it as a place to start building something."  

Speaking to MalaysiaNow, Tan said the residents could do little more than resign themselves to the situation. 

"'Redha', the Malays say. That's how everyone in Ampang feels right now. Just accept it." 

Tan's friend, Syed Fahmi, agreed. He said developers would continue to take things for granted in Ampang if they were not put in their place. 

"If the person who looks after Ampang likes developers, of course developers will like Ampang," he said. 

"But the people on the streets, who do we like? Can we decide not to like either one?"

Syed Fahmi was referring to Ampang incumbent, Zuraida Kamaruddin, who had been described as "pro-developer" during her time as the housing and local government minister under Pakatan Harapan (PH). 

She was often criticised for appearing to favour developers through the introduction of housing campaigns, including the Malaysia My Second Home programme aimed at foreigners from China and Hong Kong.

She was also alleged to have received RM1 million in contributions from a blacklisted developer to the Penggerak Komuniti Negara NGO which she patronised in 2020. 

She took down a photo of her receiving a mock cheque for the amount after questions were raised about the issue. 

Zuraida, a three-term MP for Ampang, faces fellow women candidates Rodziah Ismail of Pakatan Harapan (PH), Ivone Low Yi Wen of Barisan Nasional (BN), lawyer Sasha Lyna Abdul Latif of Perikatan Nasional (PN) and Nurul Ashikin Mabahwi of Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA). 

The four others are Warisan candidate Bryan Lai Wai Chong and independents Muhammad Shafiq Izwan Mohd Yunos, Tan Hua Meng and M Raveendra.


Hidayu Omar, who runs a clothing stall at a shopping centre in the area, said he and his neighbours had been offended by Zuraida's "reset Ampang" campaign. 

Speaking to MalaysiaNow, he said he was tired of dealing with the same problems day in and day out – traffic congestion, flash floods and water cuts on a regular basis. 

"Out of the blue, she wants to 'reset Ampang'. Why now?" he asked. "We had the same problems before this but she only realises it now, just before the election?

"What has she been doing for the past 15 years if, at this general election, she wants to 'reset Ampang'? I'm really angry and disappointed." 

Hidayu, who lives only 5km away from the shopping mall, said he nevertheless needed more than 10 minutes to get there on normal days – sometimes 15, if traffic was bad. 

When asked about the water disruptions in the area, he only shook his head.

A youth who introduced himself as Hafiz Hafifi Hassan said he wanted a candidate who could make good policies for the constituency, especially to deal with the problem of flash floods. 

He said representatives who were only active during times of disaster were not fit to be MPs. 

"We don't want an MP who only comes down when it floods," he said. "If that's all they do, it would be better for them to just volunteer their services at an NGO." 

Zuraida, who won and defended her seat on a PKR ticket, joined Bersatu in 2020 after being sacked from the party in the aftermath of the Sheraton Move which saw the collapse of the PH government. 

In May this year, she announced her decision to leave Bersatu and join Parti Bangsa Malaysia instead.

She also said she was ready to resign from the Cabinet where she had served under three administrations in two portfolios: housing and local government, and plantation industries and commodities.

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