ALOR SETAR: The Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidates contesting the state seats of Tokai and Sungai Tiang in Pendang are on a mission to improve the living standards of the people in their constituencies.
PH’s Sungai Tiang state seat candidate Abdul Razak Khamis said although the people in Pendang had always supported Barisan Nasional (BN), the constituency was still lacking in development compared with Tokai.
“In terms of the economy, if we go into the kampung areas, the way the community is living now is as though we just achieved independence. There are villages with no water.
“There is also the issue of those who are unable to continue their schooling. So when we see such things, we are touched, because in this day and age, this is not supposed to happen any more,” he said.
The Pendang PPBM division chief said the majority of those living in Sungai Tiang were farmers, rubber tappers, traders and civil servants.
Rubber tappers are finding it hard to make ends meet, Razak said, with the price of rubber dropping to below RM2.
“If they go out to tap rubber, they can make RM40 or RM50 a day. That is if it is their own estate.
“If they tap trees belonging to others, they have to split their earnings. So, from the RM50 the rubber tapper only gets RM25 to support his family.
“PH will try to be the voice of rubber tappers. Maybe we can consider having a base price of RM4. And it cannot go lower than that. Otherwise, the rubber tappers cannot survive.”
Razak said there were also many social problems due to the stress of the high cost of living.
“Even 60-year-old retirees have to become security guards in schools.”
“If the husband’s salary is not enough, then they have to let their wives work as school janitors.”
“As a result, their children are left to fend for themselves and some end up getting involved in drugs.”
Razak said if he wins, he would use his experience to find ways of increasing the income of farmers.
He also pointed out the unemployment problem among youths in Sungai Tiang.
“They work out of state, but when their companies close down, they come back home. What jobs can they find here?
“Even those who graduate cannot find work.
“We need to find ways to improve the living standards of the people here,” he said.
Amanah’s Mohd Firdaus Jaafar, who is contesting the state seat of Tokai, wants to address the issue of income inequality among padi farmers in the constituency.
Firdaus pointed out that the subsidies for fertilisers and poison have been given in equal amounts by the Muda Agricultural Development Authority without taking into consideration the land conditions. This has resulted in different levels of income for farmers.
“PH needs to carry out research on why the income among some padi farmers is not the same.
“The thing is, the same fertilisers and pesticides are being used, yet the yield received by padi farmers is not the same.
“The government needs to identify the different fertilisers and pesticides for different types of land.
“What is happening now is that there are those who are making profits, while others are not,” he said.
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