MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Monday, April 15, 2024

Kuala Kubu Baharu by-election will be a tough one for the unity govt


THE Kuala Kubu Baharu (KKB) by election is already giving Pakatan Harapan the jitters, and it is going to be a tough time for the unity government to defend the seat as well as explain its poor performance and lack of reforms for the last 18 months since it was elected to government in November 2022.

The KKB constituency is reflective of the racial demographics of the country and has 50% Malays, 30% Chinese and Indians make up about 20%.The Selangor government’s performance has been no better either and various controversies have bogged the state government such as the Batu Arang incinerator, the land acquisition for the ECRL project, the PJD Link (KIDEX), the Shah Alam Stadium re-development deal and the still unresolved disputes over local government posts for UMNO/Barisan Nasional parties.

The state government’s lack of transparency, good governance and accountability over these issues will have some effect on the poll. The unity government’s promise of reforms will be laid bare for all voters to see and no amount of excuses will suffice to convince voters.

The Indian community, which is very much disappointed at the indifference shown by the government, will be able to show its displeasure with the power of swing votes in this election.

It must be noted by the state PH administration that Indian dissatisfaction and disillusionment with the unity government led to two state seats – Ijok and Bukit Melawati – being lost to PN in last year’s state elections.

Indians are not as supportive of the unity government as before and their votes will be the decider in the by-election.

The Indian community should be given two exco seats instead of one as always, and more Indians can be appointed to local government positions. There should be more socio-economic programmes to uplift Indians by the state government.

Selangor has the highest number of Indians in the country. UMNO has been much weakened in recent years and it will have an uphill task winning the Malay votes and the recent polemics involving UMNO leaders will have a major effect on non-Malay voters supporting the unity government.

A major factor contributing to the dissatisfaction of Indians could also be the increasing cost of living in Selangor and the lack of an effective response to overcome this issue that affect the urban poor and the B40 from both the federal and Selangor governments.

Selangor could open up large tracts of land for food crop cultivation in the outlying rural districts such as Hulu Selangor, Kuala Selangor and Sabak Bernam.

Recently there was a suggestion by Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Johari Abdul that cassava (tapioca/ubi kayu) consumed as an alternative staple food.

This was the case when there were food shortages brought about by the Japanese occupation during WW2.

Vegetable, fruits and other food prices have skyrocketed in recent times. Selangor, despite being the most urbanised and populous in the country, is not taking effective steps to help the people through increased agricultural outputs.

Investments and SME industries need to be dispersed to the outlying districts, and KKB could become more prosperous with increased employment opportunities instead of being regarded as a haven for retirees. Popularising KKB’s tourist attractions could benefit the town folk.

Already we have seen how MITRA has been again transferred back to the Prime Minister’s Department as soon as the news of an impending Selangor state election caught the attention of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Another RM50 mil has just been allocated by Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM) for assistance schemes for Indian women to curry their favour for their much-needed votes.

This election will also show how much support the Indians give to PN despite their apprehensions about the Malay-centric parties.

It will also be a good testing ground for Urimai, the political party led by the influential Prof. P. Ramasamy, and his lobbying for Indians to support PN.

Urimai will gain much clout and traction as an alternative Indian party that will be a counterweight to the Indians in the unity government if the new party can influence the Indian swing votes for a PN victory.

One of the revelations in the PH led government is how Indians and Chinese have quickly lost any influence in the government’s policy and decision-making.

These communities appear helpless and defenceless as against the racist and religious agenda of some politicians.

The two communities have been taken for a ride by the DAP, PKR and the BN and are now receiving only token appreciations for their overwhelming support to the coalition parties.

Despite being a major force that can have a big impact due to the swing vote factor, Indians will be in a dilemma whereby they could end up in a Catch 22 situation: If they don’t support the unity government then assistance schemes to them could be reduced, and if they support the government their electoral help could be taken for granted with the status quo remaining the same. – Focus Malaysia

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