Politics

Zulhasnan’s way of keeping Setiawangsa under BN

zulhasnan

Nadhirah Sofea
Written by Nadhirah Sofea

SETIAWANGSA – May 8, 2018: Of the 11 parliamentary constituencies in Kuala Lumpur, Setiawangsa is the only one which Barisan Nasional (BN) has never lost, surviving even in 2008 where the coalition was almost wiped out from KL.

While political pundits argued that BN’s tight grip on Setiawangsa was largely due to the sprawling population of armed forces’ personnel – particularly living in the camps on Jalan Jelatek – the lay people in the area are themselves politically aware.

Military personnel are generally viewed especially by the opposition as a fixed deposit for BN and in Setiawangsa they comprise 20 per cent of the voters.

“BN helps us a lot. They help us in terms of the infrastructure as you can see now where PPR (low cost apartment) Seri Semarak is the only apartment that has everything,” said Ahmad Faizul Hasni, a resident there.

“BN always turun padang (goes to the ground) to meet residents to hear about our problems and always never hesitates to gives us help,” said Katbhagam Ponea, another PPR Seri Semarak resident.

Setiawangsa election results

Party

Candidate

Votes

Per cent

2004

BN

Zulhasnan Rafique

27,757

77.44

PAS

Abdul Rashid Hassan Basri

8,088

 

2008

BN

Zulhasnan Rafique

25,489

59.49

PKR

Ibrahim Yaacob

17,355

 

2013

BN

Ahmad Fauzi Zahari

26,809

51.33

PKR

Ibrahim Yaacob

25,419

 

Voter breakdown: Malay 62 per cent; Chinese 26 per cent; Indians 10 per cent

According to Tan Sri Zulhasnan, it took BN 25 years to foster the existing friendly relationship with the locals, adding that it began since Setiawangsa was a part of the Wangsa Maju constituency.

“In any part of the world, urban voters are quite independent. They have their own mind. So we need to have activities that they get to be involved in and make decisions.

“My help as their MP (member of parliament) comes in the form funding their activities which was why I set up a foundation in 2002 just in case we don’t have enough cash,” said Zulhasnan, who became Wangsa Maju MP in 1999.

One of the crucial strategies Zulhasnan had employed throughout his tenure as Setiawangsa MP was to elect qualified locals to lead the four public councils there.

“It’s a strategy we call ‘Merakyatkan Setiawangsa’ (Humanising Setiawangsa),” said Zulhasnan, who first stint as an MP began in 1999 after he beat PKR’s Marina Yusoff in Wangsa Maju by 5,618 votes.

In tomorrow’s elections, Zulhasnan will seek to retain Setiawangsa for BN in a three-cornered fight against Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad of PKR and Ubaid Abdul Akla of PAS.

“I offer the people in Setiawangsa my continuity of services, my past track record and the relationship I have built with them. We already have a system in place and it is a successful system.”

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Nadhirah Sofea

Nadhirah Sofea