BN politicians: Voters in Hulu Selangor want a new face

By Yow Hong Chieh (Malaysian Insider)
HULU SELANGOR, April 13 — Some Barisan Nasional politicians are echoing the sentiments of many Hulu Selangor residents who say they want to see a new face in the upcoming by-election.
Datuk Idris Bakar, Hulu Selangor Umno chief, said that, based on what he has heard, voters strongly prefer a newcomer to be the candidate for BN in the constituency.
“(They) won’t accept an old candidate. The candidate has to be someone new.”
[Noh said Umno will work with whoever the PM picks. – Picture by Choo Choy May]
Noh said Umno will work with whoever the PM picks. – Picture by Choo Choy May
When asked about the people’s feelings towards Datuk G. Palanivel who was the MP there for the last 18 years before he lost his seat in the March 2008 general elections, he said, “Palanivel tak timbul rasa kasih sayang.” (Palanivel doesn’t evoke feelings of love.)
He said this was because of the public perception that Palanivel made a lot of “unfulfilled promises” during his time as MP for Hulu Selangor.
On the other hand, V. Mugilan, the other contender for the candidacy, is well liked by residents because he is friendly and mixes well with locals of all races, according to Idris.
“We can accept Mugilan. We can work with him,” he said, referring to the division he heads.
He added that BN component party members will “come back to the common interest” once the candidate has been chosen by the prime minister.
[Wong says being a local boy will be a big advantage. – Picture by Choo Choy May]
Wong says being a local boy will be a big advantage. – Picture by Choo Choy May
Selangor state assemblyman Wong Koon Mun of MCA agreed with Idris’s assessment of voter sentiment.
“Most voters want a new face. They want a candidate who is very close to the people and able to solve their problems. The people here are not really concerned about national issues.”
Wong said most locals were preoccupied with the lack of infrastructure and job opportunities in Hulu Selangor and wanted an accessible politician they can approach easily to air their grievances to.
“I think Mugilan is a young and potential candidate because he is very close to the young voters.”
The Kuala Kubu Bharu representative also said being a “local boy” will be a big advantage in this by-election, recalling his own victory at the local level in the 2008 general elections even as Selangor fell to Pakatan Rakyat.
In contrast, Selayang-based P. Kamalanathan, another possible candidate for the seat, is “not so popular” with the locals because voters saw him as an outsider.
Wong said, however, that the decision ultimately lies with Najib. Citing surveys commissioned to gauge public sentiment, Wong said the prime minister “knows very well” what the situation on the ground is and would make his decision accordingly.
[Idris too is keen on a new candidate. – Picture by Choo Choy May ]
Idris too is keen on a new candidate. – Picture by Choo Choy May
“We are not quite concerned about the candidate,” he concluded, but admitted that the earlier jostling between MIC and Umno had worried him.
Datuk Seri Noh Omar, Selangor Umno deputy liaison chief, was non-committal when asked if locals preferred a fresh face.
“For sure (it will be) MIC. Who the candidate is, I don’t know. That one is up to the prime minister to decide,” he said.
He added that Umno will work with whoever is chosen to be the BN candidate.
Noh was in Kuala Kubu Bharu yesterday to launch the Hulu Selangor Kelab Komuniti Usahawan Tekun (KKUT) in his capacity as Minister of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry.
During the press conference, Noh accused local authorities of practising “double standards” when it came to limiting the number of party banners that could be put up.
“Siapa yang bagi kelulusan ini?” (Who gave them authorisation?)
He complained that local councils enforced banner restrictions more stringently on BN than they did the opposition parties, and questioned their impartiality.
In his earlier opening speech, Noh had also taken the opportunity to plead the BN case to the crowd of farmers and small business owners.
“Let us use this coming by-election to give another chance to BN. BN is fair,” he said.