Prabakaran, Malaysia's youngest MP, juggles serving the people, studies and regular life

23-year-old Batu MP, P. Prabakaran, leads a very different life to most twentysomethings in Malaysia. — Picture by Hari Anggara.
23-year-old Batu MP, P. Prabakaran, leads a very different life to most twentysomethings in Malaysia. — Picture by Hari Anggara.

PETALING JAYA, July 31 — Public service is not the first job most 20 somethings would consider.

But Batu Member of Parliament P. Prabakaran has continued in his childhood dream of becoming a politician. 

More than a year since becoming Malaysia’s youngest ever MP, Prabakaran, said that he has been working hard to resolve long-standing issues that have plagued his constituency.

This, while continuing his law studies at night.

“The most important things about being an MP is the fieldwork, working with the grassroots level," he said.

“There are many 20, 30-year-old problems we need to fix, and it will take time to do so."

The Batu parliamentary constituency covers the area between Sentul and Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur and are some of the poorest districts in the state, with a high level of petty crimes.

So, Prabakaran must do his fair bit of running around, as he gets busier “day by day”, meaning that he has no time to play badminton with his friends or even have a girlfriend, now that he has more responsibility on his shoulders.

The 23-year-old juggles between being a politician by day and student by night, as he spends most of his time as a politician actively working in the “grassroots” and attending night classes for his law studies.

Even with the weight of Batu on his shoulders, Prabakaran won’t give up and will keep trying to do the best he can, to develop the districts of Batu into model communities.

“People used to be afraid to come into places like Sentul, but that was last time,” said Prabakaran.

He added that he wanted to remodel Batu into a constituency that flourishes both economically and academically, to change the perceptions that people have about the districts.

However, that is easier said than done.

One thing that does work to his advantage is that Prabakaran is an “anak jati” (native) of Batu and has lived in the area for his entire life, so he has grown up with all these “old” problems.

“I’m very familiar with all the places here and people have accepted me like I am a part of their family, so it makes it easier for me,” said Prabakaran.

Prabakaran is keen to develop the roads and marketplaces of his constituency, to improve the quality of life for the residents in the area.

He has been working closely with KL City Hall as he intends to develop three major marketplaces and conduct research for new roads in the district.

“The markets are a great economic contributor for my constituency,” said Prabakaran.

Additionally, other than developing the infrastructure of the districts, Prabakaran is also working diligently to help the marginalised and underprivileged.

He has continued to support educational causes like Dignity for Children Foundation, as he said that “the youth are not the future leaders, but the current leaders”.

Since Batu is made up of 70 per cent residential areas, he added that he was working on creating more low-cost apartments to provide affordable housing.

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