KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 — Syefura Othman will be marking her electoral debut this GE14 with a leap from handling town complaints to more rural concerns in the farmlands of Ketari, Pahang.
Despite her more urban experience, the Kajang municipal councillor is taking her walks around the Felda oil palm settlements in her stride to ensure the Pakatan Harapan (PH) pact keeps the state seat won by DAP party colleague Lee Chin Chen in the last election.
“If we can maintain DAP and PH ardent supporters, the chances of victory is definitely bright.
“I am optimistic and will work hard, especially for Felda voters,” the 28-year-old told ProjekMMO, Malay Mail’s sister publication in a recent interview.
The young woman popularly known as Rara was announced as the DAP and PH candidate for Ketari, one four state seats under the Bentong parliamentary constituency, just last Sunday.
In Election 2013, Lee won the Chinese-majority Ketari constituency by a 2,140-vote majority but DAP top leaders have decided to field the young man in Bilut, another state seat under the Bentong parliamentary seat.
Ketari is a rare constituency where the number of ethnic Chinese voters outstrips other races at 47 per cent compared to 45 per cent Malay voters and 5 per cent Indian voters.
Syefura who has started making the rounds in the state seat said so far, she has not encountered any major obstacle during her political campaign visits there the past few months.
“To me, what's more important is to increase the existing majority, so that PH can win in Bentong. That is the main focus,” she said.
Apart from Ketari and Bilut, DAP also currently controls the Sabai state seat, which was won by Kamache Doray Rajoo with a razor thin margin of 117 votes.
Umno’s Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob retained Pelangai, the last state seat within Bentong in the last election. He is set to face a candidate, former teacher Norhaizan Abu Hassan, from another PH component, Parti Amanah Negara in the coming May 9 general election.
DAP is running in 11 seats in Pahang. It fielded environmental activist Wong Tack in Bentong in the 13th general election, but he lost to MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai by 379 votes.
A significant 12,800 Felda settlers from eight settlements — namely Felda Mempaga 1, Felda Mempaga 2, Felda Mempaga 3 and Felda Sungai Kemasul — make up the 66,320 total voter population in the Bentong parliamentary seat.
The DAP committee member foresees that the toughest bump to overcome to be the use of the PKR logo for all PH election candidates in peninsular Malaysia instead of her party’s iconic “rocket” symbol.
“Older voters may not recognise PKR's logo, so we have to educate them and promote the PKR symbol to the voters,” she said.