Zaid’s wife takes to the stump in Hulu Selangor

By Debra Chong (Malaysian Insider)
HULU YAM, April 20 — The daggers have been drawn against Datuk Zaid Ibrahim but the PKR candidate for the Hulu Selangor by-election knows he can count on his wife to shield his back.
Datin Suliana Shamsuddin, Zaid’s wife for the past 31 years, is no shrinking violet.
Unlike most politicians’ wives who appear to prefer to support their husbands from the shade, the mother-of-three grown children has been boldly campaigning for her man all over the parliamentary seat the size of Malacca, without him.
“I don’t have a problem meeting people on my own,” the slender Suliana told to reporters after campaigning for her Kelantan-born husband in the tiny sneeze-and-you’ll-miss-it Chinese village here.
“It’s hard work but satisfying,” she said, recounting the long hours she now keeps due to the extensive travel into the semi-rural seat.
The petite Perak-born showed she was indeed made of sterner stuff during her short walkabout through the village. She never once flinched or shrieked at the sight of the many strays that meandered around the street, scratching their furry bodies furiously.
Likewise, she unflinchingly tackled the thorny issue of her husband’s alleged drinking.
“If you want to ask bad things, ask your enemy; if you want good things, ask your friends. It’s just part of the process,” she said, shrugging off the allegations her husband is an alcoholic and a womaniser.
“That’s over already. The main thing is what he can bring to the people,” she added.
The energy and confidence with which she carried herself gave away her experience.
Suliana said she had campaigned for Zaid when he ran for the Kota Bharu parliamentary seat as an Umno man in 2004. He won it but was not fielded in the next general election.
She said she was on the campaign trail this time to help introduce the locals to Zaid and convince them why they needed to vote him in as MP come Sunday.
“He is a sincere person and not a hypocrite. He holds to the truth,” Suliana said in her speech earlier.
She told the 30-odd working-class men and women who turned up with their young children that Zaid has a generous heart. She spoke of the foundation for the less privileged he had set up in Kelantan, Yayasan Orang Kurang Upaya Kelantan (Yokuk) 11 years ago.
Her message, Suliana said, was simple: Zaid Ibrahim is the new hope to save Malaysia.