KUALA LUMPUR: Stepping into the halls of SMK Aminuddin Baki on Nov 5, nomination day for the general election, filled Johari Ghani with more than a sense of nostalgia.
After all, the Barisan Nasional candidate for the Titiwangsa parliamentary seat considers himself a proud product of the secondary school, one now filled with a sense of purpose.
“At one stage of my life, I was a student, but on that day I walked in as someone who will contest in the general election. I’m proud to be directly associated with the school,” he said when met by FMT, during a walkabout recently.
Johari added that he was an example of one who had benefited from a good education and a system that lifted him out of the trap of poverty, for which he remains forever grateful.
“My family used to live in a housing project flat . But not any more, because education has taken me out of that vicious cycle of life.”
Now Johari, who was finance minister II from 2016-2018, wants to pay it forward, by helping build a better future for other children through education. It is their only way out of poverty, he says.
But first he must wrest the seat back from Bersatu. Johari was elected the MP for the constituency in 2013 but lost to Rina Harun in the 2018 general election.
While he could have contested some other constituency, Johari is determined to win back Titiwangsa, even though he could face an uphill task as voters in urban areas tend to be anti-establishment, making it difficult for Barisan Nasional.
However, Titiwangsa is a multiracial constituency. The 80,700 electorate comprises Malays (70%), Chinese (17%), Indians (9%) and others (2.8%).
“The different communities there are confronted with different issues,” he says. A candidate who wants to succeed and to be their wakil rakyat must be able to embrace everyone in order to succeed and to be their wakil rakyat. “Good leaders must be able to address the (various) issues in the area.”
Johari said there was a need to learn how one can contribute to the people in a constituency as this would equip one with experience needed to deal with issues at the federal level.
Johari is involved in a four-cornered tussle for the seat. The other three candidates hoping for victory on polling day Nov 19 are Dr Rosni Adam of Perikatan Nasional, Khairuddin Abu Hassan (Pejuang) and Khalid Samad (Pakatan Harapan).