SEMENYIH, Feb 16 — Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) positioned itself as a strong Opposition voice in the Semenyih by-election as it tarred both the ruling Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) and Umno with the same brush.
PSM central committee member S. Arutchelvan pointed out that Pakatan Harapan (PH) had already secured at least 90 per cent of the Selangor state legislative assembly and said the voice of the people needed to be heard.
“PSM will be the best person to voice out their dissatisfaction because Umno and PPBM is not different from one another with former Umno lawmakers joining the party recently.
“A lot of people are disgruntled with PH and if they are unhappy they can vote for Barisan or Uncle Kentang or PSM...but among the Oppositions we are the best lah,” he told reporters after the candidates filed their nomination papers at Dewan Seri Cempaka, Saujana Impian here.
Seven former Umno MPs recently joined PPBM, including Tasek Gelugor MP Datuk Shabudin Yahaya and former Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin.
He said with 45 per cent of the state constituency comprising young voters, it was crucial to select a candidate who is young and dynamic.
“This is why Nik Aziz was a suitable candidate because he is an activist,” he said, referring to 25-year-old PSM candidate Nik Aziz Afiq Abdul.
Arutchelvan said one of main issues faced by the locals has been identified to be housing, especially for the urban poor and estate workers.
Nik Aziz said his party would utilise social media and organise frequent press conferences to speak on daily issues as part of its campaign strategies.
Meanwhile independent candidate Kuan Chee Heng, whose birthday also fell on the same day, said he did not aim to obtain political influence but to continue community services which he started years ago.
“The dream is to bring a better Malaysia, for your mother, for your children, for everyone of us.
“Those who are in trouble, look for me,” he said.
Fondly known as ‘Uncle Kentang’ by the locals for distributing potatoes to the poor, Kuan said he carried the voice of those who have been neglected, as the community needed a voice free of politics but who was approachable to the public.
“This is the first step in bringing change to their lives.
“I am here to find solutions to problems and I will not campaign against my opponents to discredit them,” he said.
He said many locals in Semenyih were not provided with sufficient health care and food accessibility due to financial constraints.
“I am not saying that I can settle all of them but I have been doing this for several years. People are tired of politics,” he said.
Kuan and Nik Aziz Afiq will face two other candidates, PPBM’s Muhammad Aiman Zainali and BN’s Zakaria Hanafi.
The by-election has been necessitated by the death of the incumbent assemblyman, Bakhtiar Mohd Nor of PPBM of a heart attack on January 11.
The seat is a Malay-majority seat — 69 per cent of the total 54,503 voters followed by Chinese at 17 per cent and Indians 14 per cent.
In last year’s general election, Bakhtiar obtained 23,428 votes to defeat BN’s Datuk Johan Abd Aziz (14,464); Mad Shahmidur Mat Kosim of PAS (6,966); and PSM’s Arutchelvan (1,293).