Perikatan’s Ampang candidate sees ‘zero’ political baggage as boon to election campaign

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

AMPANG, Nov 16 — Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) Ampang candidate Sasha Lyna Abdul Latif has attributed her clean, political slate as a boon to her ongoing campaign in the 15th general election (GE15) where eight others are also vying for the coveted federal seat.

“I could say it is an advantage because I don’t have any political baggage and I’m a new face, so people are more interested to know (my background).

“So we have received a lot of very positive feedback. Our first week of campaigning is about that, introducing myself to the political scene, especially to the people of Ampang,” the 39-year-old told Malay Mail in an interview at her operations centre in Bandar Baru Ampang.

Prior to her nomination as a candidate for Ampang, Sasha Lyna was a former Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) legal officer, having served under former MACC chief commissioner Latheefa Koya and incumbent chief Tan Sri Azam Baki between 2019 and 2021 respectively.

She also possesses a legal background with over 13 years in practice, having served as an observer lawyer for three iterations of the Bersih rally in 2007, 2011 and 2012, in addition to legal aid duties.

Most recently, she obtained official recognition as a certified integrity officer accredited by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Academy, a testament to her anti-corruption stance and PN’s manifesto theme.

“That is one of the reasons why I joined PN because I think Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has been very principled and stern in saying he doesn’t want to get involved with anyone that has corruption cases,” she said in referring to the coalition’s chairman.

Sasha Lyna revealed that she has always been in politics, albeit involved behind-the-scenes, clarifying that she did not “suddenly” decide to announce her foray into politics.

“I started getting involved in political campaigning way back in 2008. I was not a member of a party at the time. It was just voluntary work with a group of friends.

“But back then, as a lawyer, your input was sought for any legal matters. Now this time I am taking the challenge to become a candidate and make a change,” she said.

Perikatan Nasional’s candidate for Ampang Sasha Lyna Abdul Latif speaks to Malay Mail during an interview November 11, 2022. — Picture by Choo Choy May .
Perikatan Nasional’s candidate for Ampang Sasha Lyna Abdul Latif speaks to Malay Mail during an interview November 11, 2022. — Picture by Choo Choy May .

Perikatan Nasional’s candidate for Ampang Sasha Lyna Abdul Latif speaks to Malay Mail during an interview November 11, 2022. — Picture by Choo Choy May .

My agenda

During the interview, Sasha Lyna also shared her aspirations and initiatives for the Ampang federal constituency if elected come Polling Day on November 19, stating that she had spent most of her childhood growing up here.

“Growing up here I know the demographics and hardships faced by those staying in Ampang.

“Of course, I have already set out what I want to do for Ampang. I would happily share that most of what I want to do is basically in line with our manifesto.

“We don’t want to promise things we can’t commit to,” she said, adding that she planned to put her legal background to use for the community’s welfare.

Among the things Sasha Lyna has set her mind on is the establishment of a legal aid centre as a “conduit of knowledge” for those who are unable to hire a professional lawyer for their services due to financial constraints.

“We can create a space for them. The message I want to send to Ampang is that I want to be inclusive where people with any problem can come and seek assistance,” she said.

She also wants to set up a community centre where youths and senior citizens in Ampang can participate in various social and educational activities.

When asked about local issues, Sasha Lyna said this included a labour shortage and unemployment, based on sentiments on the ground that she encountered through various meet-and-greet sessions following her nomination.

As the country is currently experiencing the north-east monsoon, Sasha Lyna also said concerns over landslides and flooding have been a subject of discussion among locals too, as she pointed out several incidents of flooding following continuous heavy rain in recent days.

Furthermore, Sasha Lyna said Ampang, like all major townships within greater Kuala Lumpur, currently faces parking woes as it underwent rapid development.

She vowed to resolve all the issues raised by bringing them to the relevant authorities.

Ampang will see a nine-cornered contest in GE15, with Sasha Lyna facing Ivone Low Yi Wen of Barisan Nasional (MCA), Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin of Parti Bangsa Malaysia, Bryan Lai Wai Chong of Parti Warisan, Nurul Ashikin Mabahwi of Gerakan Tanah Air (Parti Pejuang Tanah Air) and Rodziah Ismail of PH (PKR).

Three other independents, namely Tan Hua Meng, M. Raveen and Muhammad Shafiq Izwan Mohd Yunos, have also thrown their hats into the ring.