JOHOR BARU, March 9 — PKR’s Kempas candidate, Napsiah Khamis, hopes to win with the backing of the state constituency’s registered women voters who outnumber their male counterparts slightly when they cast their ballot on Saturday.
As the lone woman candidate in a seven-cornered contest for the urban Johor Baru seat, she is confident that most of the 50.23 per cent women voters in Kempas will support her.
“Kempas, where I went to school and grew up, is unique as women voters make up slightly more than half of the state constituency’s electorate.
“As a woman, I hope to reach out to as many women and men, as well as young voters, as I can in Kempas.
“This is the time to bring women leaders to the fore, and eventually, raise women’s issues at the state assembly,” said Napsiah when met by Malay Mail at PKR’s main operations centre for Kempas in Taman Seroja here recently.
Napsiah was initially PKR’s candidate for the Puteri Wangsa seat. However, it was ceded to Pakatan Harapan (PH) ally Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah), which in turn ceded it to the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda), which led to a few ruffled Opposition feathers.
However, she was later selected by PKR as its candidate for the Kempas seat.
Checks with the Election Commission’s (EC) latest census showed that Kempas has a total of 62,011 registered voters, of which 31,151 are women.
Napsiah said despite being the only female candidate and going up against more established parties and candidates, she is unfazed and plans to see her campaign through to the end.
“It is tough as I am vying for the Kempas seat with six others in a multi-cornered fight,” said the 42-year-old mother of four.
However, Napsiah was upbeat about the increase in women voters and viewed it as an encouraging development for Malaysian democracy, especially in Johor.
“Such an opportunity is likely to ensure greater focus on women-centric issues and bring more women to the fore in politics,” said Napsiah, adding that PKR as a party also sees the importance of women in politics.
The first-time candidate is no stranger when it comes to standing up and being counted.
She made headlines late last year for questioning the authorities when she was prevented from distributing aid at a Pagoh flood relief centre while wearing her PKR attire, only to see former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin arrive on the scene in his Perikatan Nasional (PN) shirt and cap.
On the campaign front, Napsiah is actively promoting her own Period Poverty, Respect Women, and Women Against Violence campaigns to create better awareness about women’s issues in Kempas.
Her initiatives saw several areas in Kempas installing period pad boxes with free supplies for disadvantaged women.
The active PKR member and social activist is also known to champion issues related to rape and domestic violence against women.
“I hope that I can make a difference in leading political awareness among women for the upcoming state election, starting with Kempas,” said Napsiah.
This Saturday, Napsiah will go against Parti Pejuang Tanah Air’s (Pejuang) Nornekman Osman, Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) Nur Faizal Abdullah, Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Datuk Ramlee Bohani and three Independent candidates, Mohd Hambali Munadi, Mohd Azwan Abd Rahman and Mohd Suhimi A. Rahman.
Johor has 56 state constituencies, with more than 2.59 million voters who are eligible to cast their ballots this time around. The Election Commission is targeting a 70 per cent voter turnout.