MELAKA: As election fever picks up in Melaka, a separate spotlight has shone – the presence of three “new” faces who are set to contest for parliamentary seats here.

Despite being non-locals, the trio consisting of Umno information chief Shahril Hamdan, PKR youth chief Adam Adli and Muda co-founder Muthalib Othman, are unperturbed by the challenge.

Instead, they say what matters most is how they can serve and improve the lives of those within their constituencies, as well as the country.

Shahril, who is Barisan Nasional’s candidate in Alor Gajah, said he was looking forward to going up against the heavyweights in his seat.

“I am (also) the deputy Umno Youth chief and I can’t expect an easy seat or red carpet treatment. We’re meant to go into the lion’s den and wrest seats from incumbents,” he said.

He said he was also aware that his opponents would use the “outsider” card against him during GE15.

“I think the voting public in Alor Gajah is more sophisticated than choosing whether someone is an insider or not.

“What matters most is who the people here believe can bring a better future for them.

“It’s what you can bring for the people that matters,” he said, adding that if he did get the mandate, he would work to win over the people’s trust and good service.

“Hopefully, after a number of years, they will consider me an insider that has served them well,” he said.

Shahril is Barisan Nasional’s candidate for the Alor Gajah seat, where he will square off against former Melaka chief minister Adly Zahari from Pakatan Harapan.

Adam Adli, who is PKR’s candidate for the Hang Tuah Jaya seat, said there was no issue with non-locals contesting across constituencies.

“PKR is a national party (and) as you see, Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin is contesting in Bagan Datuk and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in Tambun, among others.

“As a national party, it is one that encompasses all Malaysians, regardless of localities.

“Its candidates must also be able to represent Malaysians as a whole,” he said.

On the flip side, Adam was also thrilled to contest against another young leader, Barisan’s candidate Datuk Mohd Ridhwan Mohd Ali, for the seat.

“It’s more about how both of us can not only contribute to the communities here, but also on a national scale.

“I have big shoes to fill in given how its incumbent (Shamsul Iskandar) had won and defended the seat in GE13 and GE14 respectively.

“The challenge is there (and) I need to convince the people of Hang Tuah Jaya that I’m not only here for the sake of contesting, but also to contribute towards them and the country,” he said.

Mutallib, who is making his political debut in GE15, said Muda’s presence in Masjid Tanah dispelled misconceptions about the party.

“People always say Muda just wants easy, urban and safe seats but this time we are heading into the rural areas.

“Masjid Tanah is also a Malay-majority seat where Malays make up 83% of the constituency,” he said.

“There is no challenge too big in serving the people, and even if I wasn’t nominated or didn’t win this round, I would still continue the work,” he said.

Muthalib is the Muda candidate in Masjid Tanah, where he will take on incumbent Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin, who is contesting under the Perikatan Nasional banner.