SIMPANG RENGGAM: Ahmad Ahem, PPBM’s candidate for the Machap state seat in Johor, is banking on a “desire for change” which he feels has become prevalent among rural voters in the state.
He said constituencies with Felda settlements could no longer be taken for granted as being safe seats for Barisan Nasional.
He said the sentiment for a change in government had grown significantly since the last election in May 2013 because of such issues as the rising cost of living among the common people.
“You can no longer say that things are the same as the previous general election,” said Ahmad, a former Umno veteran.
Ahmad, who is also a village head, said rural people and Felda settlers were finding it hard to make ends meet as prices of goods were constantly rising.
“Just take the price of fish as an example. Ikan kembung (mackerel), which used to be sold for RM8 per kg, costs RM18 today,” he said. “Imagine, if you have a family of four you have to fork out double or three times more,” he told FMT.
He was among those Umno members who had tried to “fix” the party from within, but gave up and decided to fight from the other side by joining opposition PPBM, led by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He said Mahathir had tried many ways to advise against ‘you-know-who’, but to no avail.
Asked why other dissatisfied Umno members were not willing to also leave, Ahmad said each individual had his own timing.
“Not everyone is able to be as bold as to just step out of the party. Some of them want to, but they are not entirely convinced. Some are angry, but they are still hopeful,” he said.
“For me, I am very straightforward, and I am not afraid to admit that fighting within to help fix the party is not possible any more,” he said.
He acknowledged that Umno used to be very open to criticism. “You could criticise the party if you saw something that was not right. We used to be able to channel such complaints to the division heads,” he said.
“Today, you cannot even raise certain issues in the annual general assembly. That has caused a lot of anger among the members,” he added.
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