By Kamarul Ariffin Md Yasin and Mohd Faizal Hassan
PONTIAN, Nov 8 -- Since campaign for the Tanjung Piai parliamentary by-election began last Nov 2, the three main contesting parties, namely Pakatan Harapan (PH), Barisan Nasional (BN) and Gerakan, seemed to be concentrating on constituents in Pekan Nanas.
There are two state constituencies in Tanjung Piai, Pekan Nanas and Kukup. In the 14th General Election (GE14), the Pekan Nanas state seat was won by PH, while Kukup remained under BN, resulting in many to believe that PH’s victory in Tanjung Piai was due to the overwhelming support of voters in Pekan Nanas.
The focus by PH in Pekan Nanas during the early stage of the 14-day campaign is perhaps to get its supporters to continue to support PH and ensure victory for its candidate again in the Tanjung Piai by-election, while BN and Gerakan are hoping to sway their votes away to their sides.
An observation by Bernama in Pekan Nanas, found issues often raised by the local community are on economy and job opportunities.
It is not an easy task for the contesting candidates to win the hearts of voters in Pekan Nanas, and the voters, aware on the importance of their votes, seemed to be rather “demanding” and “arrogant”.
The main question asked by the constituents in Pekan Nanas is whether the issues raised by them are taken by candidates to resolve the problems or merely as a political gimmick.
For Pekan Nanas State Assemblymann Yeo Tung Siong, who is from DAP, among issues that need to be addressed are on a road between Pekan Nanas and Pontian, a new hospital, a dialysis centre and a mini-stadium.
He said the existing road linking Pekan Nanas and Pontian, stretching about 10 km serves as the main link for the people in Pekan Nanas to Gelang Patah-Skudai - Johor Bahru and also Singapore, but its always in need of repair.
"Jalan Pekan Nanas-Pontian is of peat soil. Hence, the road is often damaged, with pot holes and soil sedimentation. It needs long-term solution. No point having it repaired and then damaged again,” he said when met by Bernama.
On the need for a new hospital in Pontian, Yeo said it is in line with the increase in population, and there is also need for a haemodialysis center as there is none yet so far in the district.
He said residents in Pekan Nanas also need a new mini-stadium for them to carry out sports and recreational activities .
In GE14, there were 26,608 registered voters in the Pekan Nanas state constituency, and Yeo won the election by securing 11,856 votes to defeat Tan Eng Meng (BN - MCA) with a majority of 1,308 votes.
The voters in the state constituency comprised Malay (53.36 percent) ; Chinese (45.11 percent); India (one percent) and the remaining, other races.
Polling for the Tanjung Piai by-election is on Nov 16. It is held following the death of its incumbent Member of Parliament Datuk Dr Md Farid Md Rafik due to heart complications last Sept 21.
The by-election will witness a six-cornered contest among PH candidate Karmaine Sardini, Dr Wee Jeck Seng (BN), Wendy Subramaniam (Gerakan), Datuk Dr Badhrulhisham Abdul Aziz (Barisan Jemaah Islamiah or Berjasa) and two Independent candidates, Dr Ang Chuan Lock and Faridah Aryani Abd Ghaffar.