KUALA LUMPUR: Rafizi Ramli appears to have made a deep and lasting impression on Pandan constituents despite having served only one term as their MP.
Pandan residents interviewed after a ceramah by PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail could not stop talking about Rafizi.
Many described Rafizi as a talented young man and voiced their disappointment that he had to miss the election because of his conviction.
“Rafizi is a really brilliant guy and has done a lot for the constituency,” said Pandan resident Kalid Yusof, 67. “He is vocal, speaking up inside and outside the Parliament. It is a big loss that he won’t be able to stand here as a candidate despite having done a very good job, not only in Pandan but other places as well.”
Wan Azizah, who received a warm welcome at her ceramah, told reporters that she was contesting the Pandan seat as a tribute to Rafizi’s hard work and to defend his seat.
Rafizi, a PKR vice-president, has been sentenced to 30 months’ jail for leaking confidential banking details of National Feedlot Corporation in March 2012. He has appealed against the conviction and remains free pending the outcome of the appeal.
He was elected MP in 2013 with a majority of 26,729 votes against MCA’s Lim Chin Yee and independent candidate Tan Yew Leng.
Pandan resident Kalid said he had been voting in the constituency for over 30 years. He had seen the developments in the constituency over the years.
“I was here during (former MCA president) Ong Tee Keat’s time. He did a good job bringing development to Pandan. Rafizi also admitted that it would have been a tough fight against Ong in 2013 but MCA dropped Ong as a candidate.”
Tong Kween Yee, 70, was also saddened by Rafizi’s disqualification.
“He is a wise young man, intelligent and has a lot of brilliant ideas. He served Pandan people well, and you can see many facilities are being fixed and upgraded.
“Even though he is not always around, he is a popular figure who goes here and there, but he still delivered his service,” he said.
He believed that Wan Azizah would try her best in Pandan. “She has years of experience and I am confident she can do it.”
The two old-time residents both believed that the main concern of voters was to change the current federal government, and form a new government for a better Malaysia.
Tong expressed his disappointment with the current administration, citing the high cost of living as the reason for wanting Pakatan Harapan to win.
“I am unhappy. I want to see some changes that will bring us to a better situation.”
A 38-year-old woman, who only wanted to be known as Shila, said she was disappointed that Rafizi was disqualified from contesting. “Young voters have respect for a talented young man like him.”
She would vote for Wan Azizah to make sure Pandan stayed with PH. “I am not happy with the current government, I am hoping PH will win this time.”
Wan Azizah faces a challenge from four others for the seat: Mohamed Sukri Omar (PAS), Leong Kok Wee (MCA), Lee Ying Ha (Parti Rakyat Malaysia) and independent candidate Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz.
Pandan is a mixed seat comprising Malay and Chinese voters at 46% each, and Indians at 7%.
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