COMMENT | As the reality of multi-cornered fights set in, Johoreans are assessing the buffet of candidates on offer in the coming polls.
There is interest but considerable scepticism has set in. The common refrain is: “They are all the same”, coupled with a course of confusion on who is with which party and what they stand for.
A closer look at the 239 candidates from 10 different parties does reveal that there is variety among the candidates, from traditional local warlords and businesspersons to on-the-ground social activists and local councillors.
Parties are trying to respond to calls for better and more inclusive representation, but they are facing a more distrustful public, even among their traditional political supporters and especially among younger voters.
To be fair to those contesting, many of the candidates fielded are locally grounded and eager to serve (not just themselves). They are, however, really struggling to connect to voters.
Here are some observations about the candidate dynamics in Johor compared to recent state and previous elections:
First is the greater inclusion of women. While the number only reaches 37 or 15 percent of overall candidates, women have...