The down to earth Dr Abu Bakar showing the newly resurfaced road Foto Bernama
By Fadzli Ramli
MELAKA (Bernama) -- For the Tangga Batu constituents in Melaka, its Member of Parliament (MP) Datuk Dr Abu Bakar Mohamad Diah has been a regular face in the area even when the general election was far away.
Affectionately known to the locals as Pak Bakar, going to the ground to see for himself if the people had any woes has been almost a daily routine for the politician who won the Parliamentary seat in the 13th General Election in 2013.
He is also the Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation and the Deputy Vice Chancelor (Research and Innovation) of Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka.
The humble Pak Bakar views his constituents in Tangga Batu as his friends and has been doing his best to attend to their needs.
SHORT SLEEVES AND FLIP-FLOPS
Though he has a busy schedule as a deputy minister with his office in Putrajaya, Pak Bakar returns to his constituency daily after work covering a distance of 130km one way.
As soon as he arrives back home, he would swap his suit and formal shoes to short sleeve shirt, pants and flip-flop before getting down to work. As Pak Bakar makes his rounds in his constituency, he is received by the people with ease. He is an affable person and easily breaks the ice in the meetings with his constituents.
The small time goreng pisang (banana fritters) sellers, the roadside fruit and kuih vendors have every reason to smile each time he appears as he will buy in big quantities and distribute the items to the people he meets during his visits to the constituency.
Locals have become accustomed to the sight of Pak Bakar buying in bulk from the vendors and carrying the items to his car before distributing it to the people.
"I made a resolution right from the day I was elected as an MP, that I will remain close to the hearts of the people who have elected me as their representative, " he said to Bernama.
In winning the hearts of the people, instead of talking of the investments worth billions of Ringgit that has been flowing into the constituency, Pak Bakar goes all the way to listen to their woes and address even their mundane problems.
NONE OF THE PEOPLE'S PROBLEM ARE NEGLIGIBLE
Sitting cross-legged besides the giant pothole on the road in Bukit Berlian Foto Bernama
For Pak Bakar, being an MP, there is no such thing as small of big problem. He takes all problems seriously and does whatever possible to address them so that the people are comfortable living there.
"The problems that I could resolve fast are patching potholes, clearing clogged drains, repairing broken pipes and address electricity supply disruption. Solving them makes life easier for the people.
"Other than problems, there are also many requests to fulfil. There have been request for community halls and surau, Fulfilling such request may take some time at it involves bigger allocation and different agencies to deal with, " he said.
That's not all, Pak Bakar's constituents can also expect aids like wheelchair, walking stick, bed and even grass cutters that he delivers himself to the recipients.
In Dec 2017 there was a photo of him sitting cross-legged in frustration next to a pothole on the road in Bukit Rambai and Bukit Berlian in his Facebook page that went viral. His disappointment caught the attention of the mainstream and social media. In his message he pleaded with the parties responsible to get the potholes patched up as his earlier efforts failed to see the light of the day. Sure enough the response was fast.
Pak Bakar's friendly demeanour means he is easily approachable, anywhere, anytime. He infact makes himself available to his constituents at a mamak
restaurant in Melaka International Trade Centre here.
Pak Bakar says he can't carry out his role alone due to the vast area to cover. So he also depends on the locals to take up the issues with him.
"I can't be looking into everything. The constituents are the ones who are helping me. They will inform me of deaths, accidents, people facing difficulties and etc. These people may not hold any position but they still help me.
When he could not make it to the funerals he will visit the deceased's families to extend his condolence and see if they require any help.
Based on the 2017 Second Quarter Voter's register gazetted on Aug 25 the same year, the Tangga Batu Parliamentary Constituency has 84,713 voters, a substantial number when looking at the fact the whole of Melaka only has 486,593 voters.
During the GE13, Abu Bakar from Barisan Nasional defeated Parti Keadilan Rakyat's Rahim Ali, with a 15,633 majority.
The constituents view Pak Bakar favourably and hence there is a good possibility that he will be fielded in the same constituency for another term during GE14 to be held latest by August this year.