P.121 Lembah Pantai will be an interesting watch, a very interesting watch. One of the �hot� battles going on in this year�s General Election. Lembah Pantai will witness a 3-corner fight between incumbent Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil of UMNO, Nurul Izzah Binti Anwar of (PKR) and an independent candidate, N. Periasamy. The independent candidate is, to me, of little significance when Nurul Izzah takes on Datuk Seri Shahrizat. (pst, Periasamy, why don�t you just withdraw?)
Let�s take a look at the background of the incumbent of Lembah Pantai�s parliamentary seat, Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil. She was born in Pulau Pinang on 15th August 1953. She attended school at Sekolah Perempuan Jalan Northam and Madrasah Tarbiah Islamiah, Pulau Pinang. Then she went to Sekolah Perempuan St. George, Pulau Pinang, before continuing her education at the illustrious Kolej Tunku Kursiah, Negeri Sembilan. She obtained her LLB degree (Hons.) in 1976 from Universiti Malaya. She used to serve as a magistrate and had opened up partnership law-firms before.
Her involvement in politics began in 1982 when she was elected as Head for one of UMNO Women�s factions. She hold various positions in UMNO, especially in the Women�s division. In 1995, she began her life as a Member of Parliament when she won the Lembah Pantai Parliamentary seat. She was at that time appointed as the Parliamentary Secretary for the Youth of Sports Ministry.
She is the first, and the only one so far, Minister for Women and Family Development when the ministry was created by the former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in 2001. The ministry was renamed to Ministry for Women, Family and Community Development when Dato� Seri became Prime Minister. Before the ministry was created, she was Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister�s Department holding portfolios on Population and Development and Women�s Affairs. She has been active in promoting more women representatives in decision-making posts in the government.
Now, to Nurul Izzah. Who is this young woman contesting for a parliamentary seat?
Little introduction is needed for her family. Nurul Izzah is the eldest daughter to former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, , and President of , Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. For this reason, and for many other reasons too, she is dubbed as �Puteri Reformasi�.
Nurul Izzah Binti Anwar was born on 19th November 1980. She is the eldest child of six; an examplary elder sister to Nurul Nuha, Mohd. Ehsan, Nurul Ilham, Nurul Iman and Nurul Hana. She is married to Raja Ahmad Shahrir Iskandar Raja Salim, a member of the Johor royal family, and was a few months ago blessed with the birth of their first child; a little baby girl they named Nur Safiyah. Nurul Izzah attended her secondary education at Assunta Girl�s Secondary School and passed her SPM examination with flying colours. She was a first year student of Chemical Engineering at Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) in 1998 when her father, then the Deputy Prime Minister, was sacked by the Premier. That incident was definitely the turning-point in her life. From just being a simple university student, she was hurled � unprepared � into the country�s political arena. And from there, she grew; and I really mean, grew!
She put her studies on hold to fight for her father�s reformation movement. She then continued studies at Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN), where she obtained her Bachelor�s Degree in E&E Engineering in 2004. She furthered her studies at the well-renowned John Hopkins University, and obtained her Master�s Degree in International Relations in 2006. She received a special mention for the HSBC Young IT Entrepreneurship Award for Best business proposal in 2004.
Nurul Izzah Binti Anwar is, to me, a true politician bred from the grassroots of society, trained and groomed by the hardships and struggles of a combatant, matured by the experiences of going through the turmoils in the biggest university of all � the people�s university, the university of life! Imagine this; at the tender age of 18 � yes, 18! � she was unexpectedly thrown into the battlefield as her father was wickedly captured and imprisoned for politically- motivated reasons. She stopped her studies at Universiti Teknologi Petronas (this is a dream university) to fight for her father�s rights.
She campaigned alongside the opposition political parties and various NGOs for the reform agenda. She travelled all over the country, and also went abroad to gain support for her victimized father. She has met with former Indonesian President B.J. Habibie, former Philippines President, Corazon Aquino and former USA Secretary of State, Madeline Albright for the purpose of her campaign. Now, still at the young age of 27, she is a parliamentary candidate for Lembah Pantai.
So, who will be the next Member of Parliament from Lembah Pantai. Will it be the experienced Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil once again? Or will it be the young �Puteri Reformasi� Nurul Izzah Anwar? Datuk Seri Shahrizat definitely has got the experiences as a minister, but has got hard-earn experiences learned from her direct involvement in the people�s struggle. Nurul Izzah was born into politics from the grassroots, while Datuk Seri Shahrizat was born from the elite world.
It�s the battle between two mothers, who will be the people�s representative? It�s up to you voters of Lembah Pantai to decide! Just remember, don't be afraid of change... for change can be good.
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Daripada Abu Umarah iaitu al-Bara' bin 'Azib radhiallahu anhuma, katanya: "Kita semua diperintah oleh Rasulullah s.a.w. untuk melakukan tujuh perkara, iaitu meninjau orang sakit, mengikuti janazah, menentasymitkan orang yang bersin, menolong orang yang lemah, membantu orang yang teraniaya, meratakan salam dan melaksanakan sumpah."