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On Selangor outskirts, Malay voters assess options ahead of polls

They say the cost of living and treatment of the working class are among the factors that will be taken into account.

Nur Hasliza Mohd Salleh
3 minute read
Kampung Medan residents laugh during a conversation at a neighbourhood coffee shop in Selangor.
Kampung Medan residents laugh during a conversation at a neighbourhood coffee shop in Selangor.

At Taman Medan in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, the morning atmosphere is punctuated by the calls and shouts of traders setting up their stalls for the day. 

Lorries move to and fro on the roads, weaving between the buses and cars while pedestrians and foreign workers rush to work.

At a coffee shop behind a block of low-cost apartment units, Adnan watches the hustle and bustle. 

The 59-year-old works as a contract labourer but only goes to the construction site when called by his employer. 

Speaking to MalaysiaNow, he said he was a true local as his parents had lived in the Taman Medan area for more than seven decades. 

He recalls casting his vote for the first time at the eighth general election in 1990, but says nothing much has changed since then. 

"Whether it's Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) or PKR and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) or Pakatan Harapan (PH), it's all the same," he said. "We live as we always have." 

Among the changes that Adnan does recall is the construction of bus stops and stations, and the implementation of a free bus service. 

The free bus service began under Mohamed Azmin Ali who was menteri besar from 2014 to 2018.

Adnan said the service was a good development. 

"Children use it to come back from school and tuition, and the senior citizens have a way to get to the clinic. 

"I use it too, in order to get to work." 

Taman Medan, a Malay-majority area, is located on the outskirts of Petaling Jaya. Most of its residents are from the working class. 

It was contested for the first time in a state election in 1994, and will be one of the state seats closely watched when Selangor goes to the polls in the months to come. 

In Taman Datuk Harun, drinks seller Norizah Ahmad Daod said she would support whichever coalition favours those in the lower class bracket. 

Norizah, 68, said she would also take the cost of living into account when casting her vote. 

She has lived in Taman Medan since 1990, when she moved to the area from Banting. 

"We don't care if the same old person becomes our representative," she said. "As long as his ideas are always new." 

She, too, spoke well of the free bus service, as well as the special contributions for single mothers and the state welfare assistance. 

Selangor is one of six states that will head to the polls in the coming months, alongside Penang, Negeri Sembilan, Kelantan, Kedah, and Terengganu. 

For decades, it was considered a BN stronghold. However, it fell to the opposition at the 12th general election in 2008, when PR won a total of 36 seats against BN's 20. 

But ahead of this year's state election, Adnan said that Perikatan Nasional had been active on the ground as well as on social media, where TikTok videos have been making the rounds on how Selangor might benefit from a change of government. 

"It's not necessarily true that the people in Taman Medan or Selangor have never thought of voting for someone else," he said. 

Having experienced life under both BN and PH, he said, voters in Selangor were well placed to evaluate the coalitions' performance.

"There will be those who switch camps.

"But it's hard to say if someone else could win," he added. 

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