The green crusader is optimistic that the tsunami of change will crash into Bentong’s shores.
BENTONG: Despite the rock star reception DAP candidate Wong Tack received at a ceramah here recently, the green crusader insisted that the people’s excitement stemmed not from him personally, but at the idea of change.
“They have so much expectation, so much hope for change. At this moment, everyone is excited after all these years and they see the opportunity, the time has come.
“It’s not so much that I’m a hero; they see me as a symbol for change, and they want to be a part of this change in the nation,” the anti-Lynas activist told FMT in a recent interview here.
“They are excited because the nation is moving forward. There is going to be a new nation coming,” he predicted.
Wong Tack’s optimism was not unfounded: locals could be seen walking around town dressed in the signature Himpunan Hijau green shirt, and some 5,000 people braved the thunderstorm to watch him speak at a ceramah on Thursday night.
And in a pasar malam in the remote Malay village of Kampung Pelangai – Pahang MB Tengku Adnan Yaakob’s own state seat – many of the stall owners expressed their desire for a change of government.
Although Wong Tack was an unfamiliar face to them, the locals told FMT they were willing to vote for the ‘Rocket’ over the ‘Dacing’ if it meant an answer to bread-and-butter issues.
“I am a PAS supporter, so to me, all Pakatan Rakyat parties are the same. The support for PAS, for Pakatan Rakyat and DAP here is strong,” a kuih seller by the name of Kamariah told FMT.
“Malays long ago may have supported Umno, but now Malays have woken up, we have Internet, we have information,” she chuckled as she prepared the foods for her stall.
Satay seller Mohd Zamaruddin Abdul Razak told FMT that he had always supported Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and was not interested in “money politics”.
“I cannot accept the BR1M [1Malaysia People’s Voucher]. I am just not interested, and I didn’t even apply for it. Because I think to myself: that is our own anyway they are giving out,” he said firmly.
Meanwhile, clothes seller Mohammad Murad said that any of the help BN had given to the people was “50 years too late”.
“What have they given us in the past 50-over years? They saw that Pakatan Rakyat was helping out the people, so only then they also want to help.
“But it’s too late. People are sick of them already. I am confident they will lose. All the top, clever people are already joining PAS anyway. BN has been wasting our money on submarines that they don’t even use,” said the old man.
Bring down Lynas
Wong Tack told FMT he was well aware of the plight of many villagers here, particular those of the Orang Asli’s, which incumbent Bentong MP and caretaker Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai had failed to solve.
“Yesterday I went to a village in Berangai, spent two days there, and I realised there were so many complaints on the low quality of life.
“Basic infrastructure is not there, rubbish everywhere, no proper roads… I think in an area like Bentong, no family should suffer,” he stressed.
He said that while Bentong was rich with resources, they were not properly managed, and this was the reason for the younger generation’s exodus to the city.
“I also went to an Orang Asli village in Janda Baik yesterday evening… totally unhealthy environment, living in uncertainty on land without grant, constantly threatened to have their land taken away and moved further into the forest,” said Wong Tack, shaking his head.
He said that should he become MP, he would commit himself as well as his environmental organisation, Himpunan Hijau, towards improving the people’s quality of life as well as creating “healthier, sustainable development.”
But even if he were to lose the seat to Liow, Wong Tack said that Himpunan Hijau would continue to grow stronger.
“We will bring down Lynas. After that, the more important thing is how to build the nation in an environmentally friendly manner and develop green economy for this nation.
“That’s our goal, that’s what our struggle all about. That is our objective, whether we win or lose, you will see our movement surge forward in a more dynamic manner,” he vowed.