Pretty faces in the fray for Malaysian elections

March 4th, 2008 - 4:57 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Benazir Bhutto

Kuala Lumpur, March 4 (IANS) With suave, good-looking men and beautiful women in the fray for the March 8 general elections, there is no dearth of glamour in the Malaysian political arena. This is over and above the film and TV stars, performing artistes and sportspersons that parties are using to bolster their campaigns.

While good looks among the candidates are not the monopoly of any party, the tinsel stars are mostly flocking to the poll rallies, called ceramah, of the ruling coalition - Barisan Nasional (BN).

Among the women candidates, Nancy Shukri, the BN candidate from Sadong has been likened to Benazir Bhutto, the former Pakistani prime minister who was assassinated Dec 27, 2007 in the run-up to the just concluded elections.

Like Bhutto, Shukri covers her head with a scarf. But, The New Straits Times said Monday: “she looks more like local actress Sofia Jane”.

Nancy is nonchalant about her demure “celebrity” looks. “I take it positively… Maybe I can be a role model to some…. in terms of how to present oneself as a woman,” she said.

Nancy holds a law degree from Hull University in Britain and a MBA degree from Ohio University.

“Fresh faced” Nurul Izza Anwar, 27, is the eldest daughter of Anwar Ibrahim, former deputy prime Minister. Anwar has reportedly conceded that it would be difficult for her to win against a political heavyweight and a woman minister in Lenbah Patai, but insists: “It is just the beginning”.

If Nurul Izza wins, she would be vacating the seat for her father, who wants to stage a come-comeback via a by-election.

But her task is difficult against Minister for Women Shahrizat Abdul Jalil who “is a looker herself”, says the newspaper.

The third among the clutch of beauties, Haslinda Mohamad Zerain, BN’s nominee from Antasrabangsa, “is not only a beauty but has the brains to go with it, too”.

The 34-year-old, who heads one of the women’s wings of ruling party Umno, was Affin Holdings’ strategic business head earlier. She holds a master’s degree in business, a law degree and a diploma in Islamic theology.

But they are not the only candidates who are getting appreciative looks. At a glance, Indian origin S. Kanageswari “looks gentle but heads turn when this 27-year-old speaks”.

“Her power of speech and fluency in Mandarin is said to have attracted the hearts of many single male voters in their 30s,” noted the newspaper.

Of the men in the poll arena, Malacca’s Chief Minister Ali Rustam, standing 1.7 metres tall, is rated the best-looking state level chief Malaysia has.

Wong Nai Chee, BN’s candidate from Kota Melaka, has charmed women and children, says his special assistant Lee Siew.

“It’s just him, the charm he has and the charisma he oozes,” Lee says of his boss, adding: “His gentlemanly mannerism and height at 1.8 metres, may also have contributed to Wong’s celebrity status.”

Gan Tian Loo, BN’s Duyong nominee, “may look like the average Joe but he holds the strings to many women voters’ hearts,” says the newspaper.

“Women find his baby face and soft-spoken nature endearing,” said Nurul Huda Ahmad, 35, a housewife from Duyong.

The campaign posters of BN candidate Lee Keat Lee have caused traffic to come to standstill.

“His posters are just a sight to behold. Each time I drive by, I would see this cute and cultured man in interesting poses,” said Siti Saadah Yusof, 24.

Women find the 33-year-old lawyer posing as a kung fu fighter in one of his posters captivating.

Of Lim Jak Wong, contesting from Bachang on opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP) nomination, “people have been saying that he looks like a Chinese actor”, said Betty Chew, the DAP nominee for Kota Laksamana.

His female constituents, however, think that Lim’s “well-defined dark eyebrows and angular face are god’s gifts to humanity”, says the newspaper.

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