NEW Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah, 62, of PKR, thought she would win the seat with about the same majority as her predecessor Hee Loy Sian in GE13, but was surprised she managed to nearly triple his majority.
She won the seat with 78,984 votes, obtaining a majority of 57,137 votes, compared to Hee's 19,920.
Of course, the number of voters in Petaling Jaya was increased to 140,920 from 79,558 following the redelineation exercise.
“Areas like Taman Medan and Kampung Lindungan consisted of 65% Malay population. It was not an easy area to win because of past issues related to race and religion," Maria said.
"The PAS candidate was a challenge, but we overcame it because the momentum was there.
"People just wanted a change of government, particularly in these two areas, and they would say things like ini kali lah (this time it is) when they see me,” said Maria, who revealed that she woke up this morning to thousands of texts on her mobile phone as well as missed calls from those who wanted to congratulate her.
The former Bersih 2.0 chair said a bean sprout seller in a morning market donated RM10 to her campaign on the eve of election day.
“The lady has to work hard and sell a lot of taugeh to make a RM10 profit, but she donated to me.
"I realised then that people from all races were just ready for a change.
“People told me that they were just fed up,” said Maria, who slept at about 5am before waking up around 8.00am and heading to her office on Jalan Gasing.
She said areas like Damansara, which became bigger due to the redelineation exercise, gave PH victories of over 120,000 majority.
According to her, among the factors that helped in their wins was Pakatan coming together and having a clear leadership led by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Maria said the present Pakatan Harapan manifesto had more substance compared to the common policy framework, Buku Jingga, formulated on Dec 19, 2010 by Pakatan Rakyat.
“All four parties came together and agreed on things above the differences in ideas for the sake of the nation. The Pakatan manifesto has a lot of giveaways, but it's for social safety net purposes for the low-income families.
“After visiting Taman Medan and Kampung Lindungan, I understand that it was needed,” she said.
However, Maria said the long-term goals were for increment in wage levels and a conducive environment for the young
“The young must see the education as important, so that they will complete their education for a better career. Now, it is just sad when you look at some communities,” she said.
Maria also wants institutional reforms that will curb corruption.
“Singapore and Hong Kong may not be perfect, but they made an effort in relation to the issue of corruption. This is our chance to make our institution independent,” she said.