By Mohd Hisham Abdul Rafar
SEREMBAN, March 23 (Bernama) -- Rembau PKR division deputy chief Dr S. Streram, who has been retained as the Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidate for the Rantau state by-election on April 13, is determined to prove that he is the right man for the job.
The 60-year-old anaesthetist, was given a second chance to be PH’s candidate, as he was denied the right to be contest the seat for the coalition in the 14th general election (GE14) held last May.
"This is my second chance and I will work hard to win (but) I do not want to underestimate the opponent or be too confident of winning this by-election.
"I'm confident of winning, but my priority is to focus on convincing the Rantau voters on why they need to vote for me," he told Bernama here recently.
He said the PH-led federal and Negeri Sembilan governments was one of the advantages for him to win the seat.
"I do not think that this by-election will give me the same pressure as GE14 which at that time my opponent was a menteri besar (Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan), who is now a former menteri besar)," he said.
Last night, Mohamad had announced that he would defend the seat.
Recognising that the Rantau state seat is a Barisan Nasional (BN) stronghold, Dr Streram, who prefers to contest as the underdog, said a more aggressive campaign would be undertaken to ensure victory for PH.
The Rantau state constituency covers an area of 15,960.74 hectares and has 20,926 registered voters, 118 of whom are early voters and four absentee (overseas) voters.
Of the 20,926 voters, Malays comprise 11,283 or 55.11 per cent; Chinese 3,849 (18.80 per cent); Indians 5,336 (26.06 per cent) and others four (0.02 per cent).
Describing the competition for votes as intense, Dr Streram said various strategies had been drafted including using his experience as an anaesthetist to win over voters.
"I’m from a poor family and I understand what hardship is. I will use my experience as a doctor to provide the best service to the people of Rantau and I urge voters to evaluate the differences between PH and BN," he said.
The father of three said he would focus on five agendas if he was elected as the Rantau representative.
They are construction of more affordable homes, employment opportunities, health facilities, reducing flood-prone areas, apart from improving the economy.
The Rantau by-election has been necessitated by the Federal Court’s dismissal of an appeal filed by UMNO deputy president and former Negeri Sembilan menteri besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan to set aside the Nov 16 Seremban Election Court’s decision declaring his unopposed victory in the GE14 as null and void.
In GE14, Mohamad was declared the winner of the seat after his potential PH opponent, Dr S. Streram of PKR, was prohibited from entering the nomination centre to submit his nomination papers because he did not have a pass issued by the Election Commission (EC).
The EC has set March 30 for nomination for the by-election. Early voting is on April 9.
The Rantau by-election is the seventh by-election since GE14, the others being for the Sungai Kandis state seat (on Aug 4 last year); Balakong and Seri Setia state seats (Sept 8 last year); Port Dickson parliamentary seat (Oct 13 last year); Cameron Highlands parliamentary seat (Jan 26) and Semenyih state seat (March 2).