KOTA KINABALU: Ramadan this year is special for Parti Warisan Sabah’s Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis (pic), who earned herself the label of “giant killer” after defeating political bigwig Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak for the Kota Belud parliamentary seat.
Munirah, the Warisan Wirawati (women’s wing) chief, said this Ramadan season will be “definitely different” from previous years, and she planned to observe the holy month with her constituents.
“I will be visiting mosques in various villages in Usukan and Tempasuk (Muslim-majority state constituencies within Kota Belud) to spend time with the people.
“I have received invitations to buka puasa and perform prayers (with constituents),” she said yesterday.
Munirah won the seat with a 4,262-vote majority in GE14, after failing to wrest it from Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan on a PKR ticket in GE13.
She left PKR to join Warisan in 2016.
The 36-year-old electrical engineer said she was in “disbelief” after emerging victorious against Salleh, as many naysayers had doubted her ability to defeat the former Sabah chief minister and federal communications and multimedia minister.
“Yes, there were people who doubted me because of my age or gender. But it is okay, I like the feeling of being the underdog.
“I believe the people of Kota Belud wanted a change, which is why the final outcome favoured me,” she said.
Munirah, who has been active in politics since 2011, said she hoped her victory would encourage more political engagement among women.
“Their voice is important in shaping the future,” she said.
Salleh, who is Munirah’s second cousin, described his defeat as “something not easy to take and most certainly, very humbling”.
The Kota Belud seat was also held for more than a decade by his father, former chief minister and Sabah governor Mohammad Said Keruak, in the 1970s.
Munirah, however, said their political rivalry would not affect the family ties.
Asked about her plans for Kota Belud, Munirah said all would be revealed in due time.
“It has always been my dream to contribute to Kota Belud.
“I am working on a master plan to restructure the whole district, which I will reveal soon,” she added.