BERUAS, April 7 — As soon as he was named by Gerakan last July as the party’s candidate for the Beruas parliamentary seat, Pang Chok King went into “campaign mode.”
Although a “local boy” and not unfamiliar to the people living here, as he was a former Manjung municipal councillor, Pang had to learn to do things a little differently.
Instead of just going down to the ground to meet people like he used to, Pang opened a service centre in Ayer Tawar last year.
“This is the first time I am sitting in an office to meet people,” he added.
The 54-year-old businessman, who is also Beruas Gerakan’s organising secretary, said the centre, which is not even a year old, has already been visited by thousands of people.
The owner of PCK Fresh Mart said it came as a surprise when Perak Gerakan adviser Tan Sri Chang Ko Youn proposed that he contest Beruas.
“The party wanted a local to be a candidate,” said Pang who is from Kampung Raja Hitam in Ayer Tawar.
Winds of change?
Beruas was under Barisan Nasional (BN) for five terms before it fell to DAP in 2008 and 2013. So, what makes Pang think he has a chance this time round?
He said in his meet-the-people sessions, voters told him they regretted voting for the Opposition.
“They told me nothing has come out of it,” he said.
“For 10 years, there were no Barisan representatives and everything in the constituency started to break down. From infrastructure to places of worship, you name it, there are problems. On our part, we help the people by getting the relevant agencies to carry out repairs,” he said.
He gave one example of why it is important for Beruas to have a BN representative: Allocations.
“Believe it or not, there are no dialysis centres in Beruas. Kidney patients must travel to Lumut if they need to undergo dialysis treatment. For some, especially those from Pantai Remis, this means a 40-minute journey,” he said.
There had been plans to have a dialysis centre before the 12th general election.
“But the allocation went somewhere else after Barisan lost the seat,” he said.
With some 30 per cent of Beruas voters in the B40 group, Pang said there was also a need to have low-cost housing for them.
“But we can’t do anything if there are no allocations,” he added.
The B40 refers to the bottom 40 per cent of households nationwide earning a monthly income of RM3,900 and below.
Pang hopes to make Beruas economically viable by inviting manufacturers to open plants here as the Coastal Highway linking Banting to Changkat Jering cuts through Beruas.
“At least it would provide more job opportunities for locals; unlike now where the people are working as fishermen or in estates,” he said.
Pang also said there are tourist attractions like the Ulu Licin waterfall near Taman Desa Beruas that could help to drive more visitors to the area.
While his candidacy has not been officially endorsed by BN yet, Pang has his work cut out for him already.
Before the recent re-delineation, Pang said Beruas was classified as a grey seat.
“But now with the inclusion of Astaka, the race has become more challenging,” he admitted. Astaka was formerly known as Sitiawan.
“But make no mistake, my legs have not weakened despite an additional 29,459 voters, with 21,785 of them Chinese,” he said.
To win the Astaka voters, Pang said he was working closely with MCA.
“I will join them when they meet voters there. I will tell the voters of the danger of killing all Chinese representation,” he said.
“Chinese voters will need to think hard when they vote in this election. If there are no Chinese representatives, from whom will the community seek help?” he asked.