MUKAH, Oct 1 — When Datuk Dr Md Farid Md Rafik died last month at the tender age of 42, the MP for Tanjung Piai had left behind much unfinished work.
He had plans for development in the parliamentary constituency and for the well-being of the constituents under his care, according to several people who were close to him.
Dr Md Farid, an anaesthesiologist by profession, died on Sept 21 at the Pontian Hospital of heart complications, leaving behind a wife and three daughters.
The constituents have not got over talking about their mild-mannered MP and the plans he had for Tanjung Piai, said a close friend Mohd Rusly Abas.
It was the late MP’s nature to help people, said Mohd Rusly, a schoolmate of Dr Md Farid, who was a deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department. They went to the same school, Sekolah Menengah Seri Kukup.
Mohd Rusly said one of Dr Md Farid’s foremost interests was to establish Rukun Tetangga (Neighbourhood Watch) sectors in the constituency.
“He felt that it was important to establish the Rukun Tetangga sectors in the villages so that the villagers can be self-reliant in ensuring security in their kampungs.
“For the first time, under his guidance, we established a Rukun Tetangga sector in this mukim comprising the four villages of Kampung Tanjung Piai, Kampung Serkat, Kampung Sungai Kuali and Kampung Perpat.
“This Rukun Tetangga sector was to become the model for other villages,” he told Bernama when approached recently at the Tanjung Piai fishermen’s jetty.
Mohd Rusly said that at 1am on Sept 21, he had met with Dr Md Farid to discuss several projects planned for the mukim. Sadly, the MP died at 6am that day.
Pontian District Council member Ghazaley Ayub said one of the first things that Dr Md Farid discussed after winning the seat in the 14th General Election in 2018 was tourism development in Tanjung Piai.
Incidentally, Tanjung Piai is popular for its status as the southernmost point of mainland Asia.
“Around the world, people talk of Tanjung Piai as the southernmost tip of mainland Asia. Sadly, we do not have many tourism products in Tanjung Piai. We don’t have the kind of products that can attract tourists to this place again and again,” he said.
Dr Md Farid had also outlined several major projects to raise the economic standard of the Tanjung Piai community.
These include the development of Pantai Rambah or Rambah Beach; improving the economic standard of the local community through the tourism industry; development of fishermen’s jetties and constructing a cycling track from Pantai Rambah to Kukup, said Ghazaley who is a relative of the late MP.
“I understand that he had applied for RM3 million to build fishermen’s jetties. I am not sure if his application had been approved. What I can confirm is that the development of Pantai Rambah has been approved,” he said.
Ghazaley said Dr Md Farid was a cycling enthusiast and had applied for an allocation to build a cycling track from Pantai Rambah to Kukup and the construction of which was to have started along with the upgrading of Pantai Rambah.
He said all the planned development is in line with the intensive development in the area that will be driven by the development around the Second Link that connects Singapore-Gelang Patah-Serkat over the next year or two.
“This will have a tremendous economic impact. I spoke to him about this and handed him the working paper. This development was in his plans for Tanjung Piai,” he said.
On a recent visit to Pontian, Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal announced that the federal government had approved in August a RM14.75-million allocation for 17 projects in the constituency.
It is just a short time from GE14 but much thought, plenty of work and great plans have been executed by Dr Md Farid.
The next MP will have some big shoes to fill carrying on with the legacy of Dr Md Farid, who was an anaesthesiologist at a private hospital in Melaka before venturing into politics.
Dr Md Farid won the Tanjung Piai seat in GE14 on a Pakatan Harapan-Bersatu ticket, beating Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng (Barisan Nasional-MCA) and Nordin Othman (PAS).
He garnered 21,255 votes to win by a majority of 524 votes. Wee received 20,731 votes and Nordin, 2,962 votes.
The Election Commission announced today that the by-election will be held on Nov 16. Nomination is on Nov 2 and early voting on Nov 12. — Bernama