Facing two giants, Penang MUDA says it can offer better services to Pantai Jerejak voters

GEORGE TOWN, July 26 — The Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) has made inroads in Johor with its president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman as Muar MP and secretary-general ​​Amira Aisya Abd Aziz as Puteri Wangsa assemblyman, but up north in Penang, the party is very much a new face.

Penang Muda information chief Muhammad Danial Abdul Majeed said it will not be an easy fight going up against the two big coalitions, Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Perikatan Nasional (PN) in next month’s state election.

“We are a one-year-old party with very little resources so we have to focus on an area based on the demographics and the convenience of the party,” the 27-year-old said in a recent interview with Malay Mail.

He said the youth party is barely known but has been working hard to help constituents in the Bayan Baru parliamentary constituency since GE15 last November.

Banking on the groundwork invested in the area, he said the party chose to contest in Pantai Jerejak, which is one of the three state constituencies under Bayan Baru.

Based on Muda’s own analysis and data, Muhammad Danial said the urban seat will prove easier for the party to reach out to voters through social media too.

“We need an urban seat where the people are easily reachable through social media such as TikTok, Instagram and Facebook so this constituency fits with our strategy,” he said.

While Muda’s name is now better known to the constituents, Muhammad Danial acknowledged that it will still be tough to go up against a PKR candidate as the incumbent is PKR secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail who is also home minister.

“We collected information on the achievements of Saifuddin who was the ex-Kulim MP, who at the same time was the Pantai Jerejak assemblyman.

“He had to serve two constituencies so far apart, which played an important factor in his performance,” he said.

But Muhammad Danial said Muda is not on a smear campaign against the incumbent and will trust on persuading voters that it can offer them better services and representation in the state legislative assembly.

“We only want the constituents to make a decision based on what the candidates can do for them rather than voting for the party,” he said.

He said many voters are still voting for “logos” instead of making their decision based on the quality of the candidates.

“We will be educating voters on the importance of voting for capable candidates instead of voting for the party of choice,” he said.

He is confident that Muda’s candidate, Priyankaa Loh Xiang Pin, 27, will be able to offer better services and support to Pantai Jerejak residents.

Even if Muda does not win the seat, especially with their limited resources, Muhammad Danial hopes the party will make inroads in Penang and win some support.

“For now, as we cannot officially start campaigning yet, we are conducting walkabouts and online sessions for people to get to know our candidate first,” he said.

He said Muda will launch its ceramah series after Nomination Day on July 29.

Pantai Jerejak is a mixed ethnic seat that PKR has held since winning it from Barisan Nasional (Gerakan) back in 2008.

Penang has a total of 40 state seats.

Polling for Penang is on August 12.