Politics

Kamalanathan ready to continue serving Hulu Selangor

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Zaidi Azmi
Written by Zaidi Azmi

KUALA KUBU BHARU: In a by-election in 2010, voters in Hulu Selangor had to decide on whether to elect a seasoned politician or a total novice.

The majority of them surprisingly chose the latter and it turned out to be their best political decision to date.

They continued to vote for Datuk P.Kamalanathan of Barisan Nasional (BN) in the 2013 general election where he secured 37,403 votes as compared to the 24,997 votes he netted in the 2010 by-election.

“We don’t mind voting for him again in this (coming) election. I hope BN will field him here,” said 54 year-old Izhan Yusof who attended a complimentary eye examination that was organised by Kuala Kubu Bharu MCA yesterday evening.

Izhan’s neighbour from the nearby Taman Ampang Pecah, Velluganesh Alagesh, who accompanied him to the event nodded in agreement, adding that they regularly met Kamalanathan here.

“When I came in at that time, I told them (local voters) that I came to look for friends, not voters. Today, my constituents are more than just friends. They are like family to me,” Kamalanathan told The Mole in an interview here.

In the by-election he was up against PKR’s Datuk Zaid Ibrahim who was no stranger in Malaysian politics with more than 10 years (at that time) of colourful political stint in both ruling and opposition parties.

Hulu Selangor by-election 2010

Registered voters

64,500

Turnout

49,067 (76.07 per cent)

BN: P.Kamalanathan

24,997 (51.79 per cent)

PKR: Zaid Ibrahim

23,272 (48.21 per cent)

Racial composition

Malay: 54 per cent; Chinese: 27 per cent; Indians: 19 per cent

Majority votes: 1,725

 

Hulu Selangor election 2013

Registered voters

85,697

Turnout

74,939 (87 per cent)

BN: P.Kamalanathan

37,403 (50.89 per cent)

 

PKR: Khalid Jaafar

33,989 (46.25 per cent)

 

Racial composition

Malay: 56 per cent; Chinese 23 per cent; Indians: 18 per cent; Others: 3 per cent.

Majority votes: 3,414

The by-election was called following the death of then parliamentarian Zainal Abidin Ahmad of PKR, who was the first opposition candidate to win at Hulu Selangor.

Zainal, who died of brain cancer, won the seat in the 2008 general election when BN lost Selangor, Kedah, Perak and Penang to the now-defunct Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

It was against such a backdrop that Kamalanathan surprised the more well known Zaid at the polls.

“I’ve continuously maintained my services for the people here. I’m not a seasonal politician, I don’t just come here three months before the election,” said Kamalanathan who is also the Deputy Education Minister.

Kamalanathan said his most significant achievements as Hulu Selangor MP over the past eight years were the success in persuading the construction of the Sungai Buaya interchange and Seremban-Rawang bypass as well as the relocation of underprivileged residents in Kampung Hassan to Taman Danau.

“In our manifesto, we have pointed out that the Federal Government will build a university called University Al-Quran here, in Kuala Kubu Bharu. This is good as it will increase the livelihood of the locals,” he said.

Should he be re-elected, Kamalanathan said the first thing he will do is to increase the employability of his constituents by way of setting up vocational and polytechnic institutions that offer automotive courses.

These institutions, he said, were important given the presence of Perodua’s headquarters and full-fledged factories in Sungai Choh and Nissan-Tan Chong Motors’s assembling factory in Serendah.

“That means, my constituents can study and get jobs here,” he said.

While Kamalanathan may still be BN’s best bet in retaining Hulu Selangor, talk in the local grapevine was rife with rumours that the coalition may field someone else.

It was said that the need to field a Malay candidate in Hulu Selangor has become important as Malays now make up 56 per cent of the constituency’s voters.

However, it should be noted that the late Zainal was actually the first Malay MP of Hulu Selangor since 1959 seemed to suggest that a candidate’s ethnicity may not be a big deal in this constituency.

Members of Parliament for Hulu Selangor

Parliament

Years

Member

Party

 

Constituency created

 

Ulu Selangor

 

Parliament of the Federation of Malaya

 

1st

1959-1963

Omar Ong Yoke Lin

Alliance

 

Parliament of Malaysia

 

1st

1963-1964

Omar Ong Yoke Lin

Alliance

 

2nd

1964-1969

Khaw Kai Boh

 
 

1969-1971

Parliament dissolved

 

3rd

1971-1972

Khaw Kai Boh

Alliance

 

1972-1973

Michael Chen Wing Sum

 

1973-1974

BN

 

4th

1974-1978

 

5th

1978-1982

 

6th

1982-1986

Lee Kim Sai

 

Hulu Selangor

 

7th

1986-1990

Subramaniam Sinniah

BN

 

8th

1990-1995

Palanivel Govindasamy

 

9th

1995-1999

 

10th

1999-2004

 

11th

2004-2008

 

12th

2008-2010

Zainal Abidin Ahmad

PKR

 

2010-2013

Kamalanathan Panchanathan

BN

 

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About the author

Zaidi Azmi

Zaidi Azmi

If Zaidi Azmi isn’t busy finding his way in the city, this 26-year-old northern kampung boy can be found struggling to make sense of the Malaysian political scene. Zaidi can be reached at [email protected]