Looking for the best: (From left) Ainur Bahirah, Selvakumar and Muhammad Hariz.Looking for the best: (From left) Ainur Bahirah, Selvakumar and Muhammad Hariz.


JOHOR BARU: With 239 candidates from 15 political parties going all out to woo the people in the Johor state election, voters are eager to know what they can offer before making a decision.

While some have openly indicated their choice, others prefer to observe first. For instance, they would be “tracking” ceramah, online.

Graphic designer Ainur Bahirah Ahmad Hafiz, 23, said that she was excited not just because she was a first-time voter but because so many parties were contesting.

“I have not made up my mind yet but I plan to watch as many ceramah online as possible. I want to see what these parties can offer in terms of programmes for the young,” she said, adding that her Kota Iskandar area was a hot seat.

Also undecided is assistant manager T. Selvakumar, 42.

He, too, intends to pay attention to ceramah before making his choice.

He will be voting in Tiram, which is being “targeted” by seven candidates.

“I have no plans to attend any physical ceramah as I know how tough it was for my family for when five of us, including the children, were down with Covid-19 several months ago,” he said.

Selvakumar said his vote would go to the candidate who fights for the reopening of the border with Singapore as many Johoreans were affected for the past two years due to its closure.

Another first-time voter, university student Muhammad Hariz Abu Bakar, said that while voters were spoilt for choice due to the many candidates, his final decision would be for the person who serves his constituents.

“They should have a clear goal of developing the state. I also want to look at their manifesto as I do not want parties making big promises and then not being able to fulfil them,” he said.

Muhammad Hariz, 21, will be casting his ballot in Skudai.

Cheng Tai Hoe, 54, who is from Yong Peng, said he was relieved that there were only three parties contesting in his area.

‘’Otherwise, it’s going to be difficult for any candidate to gain support as the votes will be split,’’ he said.

His area is keenly contested by Barisan Nasional, Perikatan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan.

Being a local, Cheng said he has never changed his belief about choosing a candidate who is there for the people and who has helped them.

Lum Khai Xian, 22, who was seen wearing a “Bossku” T-shirt in Johor Baru, was forthright about his choice.

According to him, his entire family would be voting for Barisan Nasional come March 12.

“I believe Barisan can bring stability back to Johor,” said Lum.

He said the “Bossku” T-shirt was a gift from his father.

A hawker in Yong Peng, who only wanted to be known as Keong, said he had voted for Pakatan Harapan in the previous three elections.

This time, he was keeping his options open, Keong, 49, said.

Forty-year-old Karamjit Singh, who is based in Perling, has made up his mind so checking out any ceramah is out of the question.

“I will give my vote to the Opposition,” he said, adding that he hoped his candidate would be bold enough to raise issues especially those involving economic and social problems.