Politics

Pakatan said to be on shaky ground in Pandan

Rafizi Ramli

Rafizi Ramli

Zaidi Azmi
Written by Zaidi Azmi

AMPANG – March 23, 2018: There have been three general elections for the Pandan parliamentary seat since it was created in 2003, with the first two won by MCA’s Ong Tee Keat and only the last, in 2013, won by PKR’s Rafizi Ramli, so given what has happened so far it’s perplexing that the latter should claim the area to be a stronghold of the opposition pact Pakatan Harapan.

Certainly this isn’t lost on long-time Pandan resident Chandran S. Rengasamy, 61, and he isn’t sure how he should react to Rafizi’s recent claim.

Not surprisingly Rengasamy totally disagrees with Rafizi’s declaration that even a cat could win Pandan if it was to contest under Pakatan. Rafizi made the remark after announcing that he would not contest in the coming general elections due to his legal problems.

Rengasamy describes the claim as hilarious because when Rafizi won the seat in 2013, the first-term MP admitted that he would have lost if he had been up against Tan Sri Ong Tee Keat, a former MCA president and two-term Pandan MP.

Pandan constituency voters breakdown during GE2013
Total voters 83, 857
Malay 44 per cent
Chinese 48 per cent
Indians 7 per cent
Others 1 per cent
Voters turnout 87 per cent

In 2013, Ong, who lost his MCA presidency in a party election three years earlier, was replaced by Lim Chin Yee, who Rengasamy described as an unknown young novice. Lim was defeated by Rafizi by 26,759 votes.

Chan Chew Li, who is an MCA party worker in Pandan, thinks that Rafizi’s huge majority was due to a combination of Lim’s political anonymity and the so-called Chinese tsunami.

“But things are different now. Boy, was Rafizi wrong when he made that cat claim last week,” she said.

She added that despite Rafizi being hailed by his supporters as a hero due to his political exploits, the joke in Pandan is that he is actually a hero in doing almost nothing.

“He has been the MP for five years but people would still come to our (MCA’s) office to ask for help. Some even told us that they regretted voting for Pakatan,” she said.

The complaints lodged at the Pandan MCA office were mostly about clogged drains, dilapidated recreational facilities in public parks and the renovation of a community hall into an illegal warehouse.

However, the residents’ biggest disappointment with Rafizi is his inability to solve the seemingly-intentional decade-long delayed construction and relocation of a government-assisted primary Chinese school, SJKC Choong Hwa, in Lembah Maju.

The 3 acres plot of school-reserve land that  was given to Choong Hwa by the Education Ministry in 2008.

The three acres of school-reserve land given to Choong Hwa by the Education Ministry in 2008.

The school’s management board chairman Chong Yew Han lamented that he had grown tired of asking for help from Rafizi or the two local state assemblymen: DAP’s Tiew Way Keng (Teratai) and Iskandar Abdul Samad (Chempaka) of PAS.

Choong Hwa’s relocation, along with two other Chinese primary schools were initially announced by the Education Ministry in 2008, where each school was to be given RM3 million. The school had to be relocated from its original site in Hulu Langat due to insufficient pupils.

In 2012, the ministry gave permission for the school to occupy three out of the nine acres in Lembah Maju.

A press report on January 19 suggested that the local council will not allow the school to be built until its board members comply with its requirements.

Politics aside, locals said they have been looking forward to the school as the one in Pandan now is full.

“There are a lot of residents here so it is quite convenient to have a school nearby,” said  bakery owner Ling Sui Siew.

MCA members are optimistic that the undercurrent of dissatisfaction will be enough for the party to win back Pandan. 

Rafizi has yet to respond to The Mole over the allegation that he has been neglecting his constituents.


Additional reporting by Nadhirah Sofea

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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]