BATU PAHAT: Leaving Penang for Johor was not an easy decision for Mohd Rashid Hasnon, but he sees it as an opportunity to move up from a state administration to a potential federal government role.
Rashid, 58, who was named Penang deputy chief minister I after the then Pakatan Rakyat opposition pact retained the state in the 2013 general election, said he was also cautious about moving back to his home state.
“I was worried initially. I have spent so many years away from my home state and built my entire political career in Penang.
“Of course I went to Penang also based on party direction in 1998, but I have been away and I know I have to work extra hard upon my return,” he told FMT.
When asked if he feels this move is a demotion from his post as a state DCM, Rashid said he views it as an “upgrade”.
“To me, this is a promotion, because if I do win the election, it would mean an opportunity for me to be involved in the decision-making process at the federal level.
“I will be able to voice concerns of the people at a national level rather than just at the state level.”
Rashid is one of the founding members of PKR in Penang, and is currently the state PKR deputy chairman.
He won the Pantai Jerejak state seat in the 2013 general election and admits that he will leave the people he had served for the past five years with a heavy heart.
“Leaving Penang also meant parting with the people I have served for a long time. I was told that many of my former constituents cried when they heard that I was leaving.”
However, now comes a more formidable challenge, first in helping PKR retain the Batu Pahat parliamentary seat, and secondly in helping to fix the party’s reputation among constituents who had entrusted PKR with their votes.
“It will not be easy for me as I have to fix certain things that the previous PKR representative did not manage to do.
“I need to regain the people’s confidence in PKR, and so far, people have been positive in receiving my presence here in Batu Pahat,” Rashid said.
In the 2013 general election, Mohd Idris Jusi defeated then incumbent and Umno supreme council member Mohd Puad Zarkashi by a majority of 1,732 votes.
However, Idris has been dropped from the PKR line-up for the 14th general election (GE14) after being accused of not properly carrying out his responsibilities as the people’s elected representative.
“The locals initially rejected me, but I feel that they are gradually accepting me.
“It is a unique mix of population here where there is some use of the Javanese language.
“I can speak Javanese and I believe that this is one of the reasons why they are accepting me – some of them are touched that I can speak their language,” Rashid said.