Joining the fray at only 23

All in the family: Peggy (second from left) with her father Tommy, mother Yong and elder brother Kelsy Chaw Yi Hao.

KOTA KINABALU: One of Malaysia’s youngest candidates, Peggy Chaw Zhi Ting, did not expect to contest in the Tenom parliamentary seat.

Peggy, 23, joined the fray at the eleventh hour after her father could not file his own nomination papers.

She was also taken aback by a “mini riot” that broke out at the Tenom nomination centre last week after nomination for Parti Kesejahteraan Demokratik Masyarakat (KDM) president Datuk Peter Anthony was rejected.

Peggy, who is the second of four siblings, was supposed to be her father’s proposer.

She admits that she is a political novice who is learning the ropes as fast as she can with the help of her farmer father, who wants to improve the farming community.

She is still trying to gather herself what being a candidate means because one moment, she was a fresh graduate trying to find a job as a physiotherapist, and the next, a political candidate.

Peggy will be relying on her father to lead the way.

“I was unprepared. I feel scared and nervous and still am,” she said when met with her family at the Lido market near the city here.

She revealed that while she was still trying to calm her nerves after filing her nomination forms that day, she was shocked to see a riot outside the nomination centre.

“I was in the nomination hall with my sister and my father’s friend, who were my proposer and seconder,” she added.

Peggy recalled hearing people yelling and the doors to the hall shaking as if people were trying to break in.

She later found out that policemen had fired teargas outside to quell the riot.

“I was so scared. My sister and I were huddled together and looking at the door, preparing to make a run and escape if the angry mob outside managed to get in,” she said.

Asked if she knew the other candidates whom she will be contesting against and whether she stood any chance of winning, she shrugged her shoulders and said she would give her best.

She said her team was preparing the final materials for her campaign programmes, including banners and manifesto.

“I will be depending on my father and his team of election campaigners,” she added.

Her father Tommy, 52, said he wished to raise the issues faced by farmers in Tenom and would guide Peggy throughout the campaign.

“I believe my daughter can also be the voice for the youth in Tenom and raise other issues that matter to their generation,” he said.

Peggy’s mother Yong Chew Fung, 51, is proud that her daughter is willing to stand as a candidate although she does not know anything about politics.

Peggy is one of the two 23-year-old candidates in the country.

She is contesting against Pakatan Harapan’s Noorita Sual, Datuk Jamawi Jaafar (Barisan Nasional), Ukim Buandi (Warisan) and fellow Independent Riduan Rubin.

The other 23-year-old candidate is Muhammad Syahmi of Pakatan who will be contesting for the Tambun Tulang state seat in Perlis.

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Peggy Chaw Zhi Ting , youngest , candidates , Tenom , GE15


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