Ampang girl, Sasha Lyna hopes to take her ‘hood’ to the next level

Perikatan Nasional’s Ampang parliamentary candidate, Sasha Lyna Abdul Latiff has worn many hats before deciding to become a politician.

Apart from being a lawyer, human rights activist and certified integrity officer, she also once served as a legal officer and strategic communications director with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

The 39-year-old mother of four had also campaigned for PKR’s Nurul Izzah Anwar during the 12th General Election in 2008.

The former Bukit Bintang Girls’ School student, spent her formative years at the San Peng Flats, in Kuala Lumpur, before moving to Ampang in 1999.

She faces eight other candidates – Parti Bangsa Malaysia’s Zuraida Kamaruddin, Pakatan Harapan’s Rodziah Ismail, Warisan’s Bryan Lai Wai Chong, Pejuang’s Nurul Ashikin Mabahwi, Barisan Nasional’s Ivone Low Yi Wen, and three independents – M. Raveendran, Muhammad Shafiq Izwan Mohd Yunos and Tan Hua Meng in Malaysia’s 15th General Election tomorrow.

She shared her plans with Twentytwo13.

How has the last two weeks been?

Sasha Lyna: It started out ordinary, but it has now become exciting as we enter the very last few days of the campaign. All the candidates are also cordial with each other. There is no smear campaign and we have also campaigned alongside other candidates, in our bid to tell people who we are and to secure votes.

Can you tell us a bit about your background?

Sasha Lyna: My late father, Abdul Latif Ibrahim was in the entertainment industry and he managed several artists, including the Blues Gang. My late mother was a clerk. I am the youngest of four siblings, but none of them are in politics.

Why did you choose to join Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia?

Sasha Lyna: While I have been working with politicians for a long time, I never joined any political party. I have been helping Bersatu by offering legal advice. Then, Parliament was suddenly dissolved and things shifted into fifth gear, and here I am contesting in Ampang as a Perikatan Nasional candidate.

People regard Bersatu as traitors following the Sheraton Move in 2020. What are your thoughts?

Sasha Lyna: I was working with the government in 2020. I felt the brunt of how Pakatan Harapan managed the country. Many ministers and deputy ministers went against members of the civil service. They could not connect with the civil servants, yet they refused to listen to sound advice.

But we saw the difference when Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was prime minister. The ‘pengkhianat’ (traitor) narrative is coined by Pakatan Harapan. The Sheraton Move was, in fact, meant to save the nation. It came at a time when Covid-19 was on the rise and we were concerned about the people’s wellbeing.

Having lived in Ampang since 1999, how has the area evolved?

Sasha Lyna: I moved to Ampang in the days when Metro buses were still roaming the streets. The LRT service had only just begun a few years earlier. Ampang was still developing and traffic was bad. But connectivity and traffic is much better now, with several new highways in the area.

What is great about Ampang?

Sasha Lyna: Ampang is my pride. When I got married in 2012, I moved to Cheras with my husband. I felt I had been taken out of my ‘hood’. We moved back to Ampang later, and I have not been happier. The food is great. We also used to have a waterfall area in Taman Rimba Ampang, known locally as Bukit Belacan. But it’s no longer open to the public, mainly due to the development in the area, including a new highway. We must find ways to revive this recreational area.

With six parties and three independent candidates contesting in Ampang, who do you think is your biggest competition?

Sasha Lyna: I feel everyone has a good chance. But after campaigning for two weeks, I believe the battle is between Perikatan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan.

According to your manifesto, you plan to get an online legal aid centre going. Can you tell us more about that?

Sasha Lyna: I have been involved with the Kuala Lumpur Legal Aid Centre since 2007 and I am part of the team that had advocated for young lawyers to contribute beyond 14 days at the legal aid centre during their time spent chambering.

We ensured adequate training was given to these chambering students, to make sure they stayed on beyond the 14 days. This is something I hold close to my heart, as I believe everyone, including the people of Ampang, should have access to legal aid.

What else is in store for the people of Ampang?

Sasha Lyna: I have plans to ensure that the young and the elderly are able to look after each other. There are many elderly people living in Ampang and they are lonely.

The youths, meanwhile, appear to be lagging in their social skills. I hope to create a programme where the elderly can adopt the youth, and vice versa, to create an ecosystem where the young can check in, or help buy groceries for the elderly. While this may sound basic, I want to introduce programmes where women can learn basic skills, like cooking and sewing, as this too, can help give birth to entrepreneurs. I want to help women, especially single mothers, earn a living.

What does Perikatan Nasional have to offer to Malaysians?
Sasha Lyna: We are a multiracial party. We have members from all backgrounds. We are clean and we are not tainted with corruption cases, unlike those in other coalitions, including Pakatan Harapan.

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