FEMALE voters in Petaling Jaya Selatan (PJS) can be the determining factor in the GE13 as statistics showed that they make up half of the registered electorate.
Barisan Nasional, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and even independent candidates contesting for parliamentary seats had acknowledged that female voters are a deciding factor for their success come polling day on May 5.
A total of 39,000 out of the 79,699 voters are women and all three men in the race are going all out to get their votes.
They have stated their aim to address matters such as the rising crime rate and cost of living as part of their campaign.
Candidates for the PJS parliamentary seat are incumbent Hee Loy Sian of PKR, Sheah Kok Fah of Barisan and independent Ibrahim Khatib.
Hee won the PJS seat in the 2008 elections with a majority of 5,706 votes against Selangor MCA chief Datuk Donald Lim from Barisan in a straight fight.
Sheah said the women were a force to be reckoned with and to be in the forefront of the race, the candidates needed their support.
“Current issues that the women are concerned about are the rising crime rate in Bukit Gasing as well as the high cost of living that is affecting people earning less than RM2,500 and the hardcore poor in Taman Medan.
“Women are knowledgeable about politics and have shown keen interest in the election process.
“They ensure they participate in most of the programmes organised by Barisan,” he said.
Sheah said Barisan was committed to addressing all these problems.
“We are also looking into the education factor. We want the younger generation to improve their lot in life through acquiring a good education,” he said, adding that programmes by Barisan were structured to help the low-income group.
“Most of the women in Taman Medan have benefitted from Barisan’s programmes such as sewing or baking classes.
“Upon acquiring the new skills, some have ventured into small businesses, thus improving their socio-economic status,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hee said the main problems affecting Taman Medan residents were economic woes.
“Most families are earning RM1,500 a month and to help supplement their income, they need help to start a small business.
“In fact, some of the womenfolk are already doing this.
“They have set up stalls outside their houses and sell foodstuff to supplement the family’s income,” he said.
Businessman Ibrahim, on the other hand, is a newcomer.
He aims to get the Malay women in Taman Medan to vote for him.
“Yes, these are my people and I want to represent and resolve their problems,” he said.
Women’s Aid Organisation executive director Ivy Josiah, 58, said crime against women was rising, making them fearful about their safety.
“We need able and non-sexist leaders who can address the problem by implementing strategies in all constituencies to prevent violence against women.
“Candidates for GE13 must become the link with the relevant authorities to provide a safe environment for them,” she said.
Sisters in Islam programme manager Suriani Kempe urged the candidates to focus on the upkeep and upgrading of low-cost housing units and their surrounding areas, including public spaces such as parks and walkways.
“Residents often complain that public spaces are neglected and their grouses made to the local authorities are not looked into.
“Faulty streetlights, broken pavements and even efficient public transportation are the common issues not attended to,” she said.
She also said that basic amenities for the physically challenged must be addressed.
“One major issue for working mothers is that there are provisions to ensure registered child care centres are of quality and are affordable so that mothers can go to work with peace of mind,” she added.
For more election stories, please visit The Star’s GE13 site