What development and racial unity, Balakong Malays ask

A resident goes about his business in Kampung Baru Balakong. (Bernama pic)

BANGI: Rubiah Mansor, a resident of a low-cost neighbourhood in Balakong for the last two decades, says she has not seen any development in the state constituency, a DAP stronghold since 2008.

Rubiah, 30, who lives in Taman Impian Ehsan, said while she was saddened by the tragic death of DAP’s Eddie Ng who was the state assemblyman of Balakong, many Malays like her felt that the town had not seen any improvement in its infrastructure.

“It seems as though the Malay community here was left out from development.

“People always say how much he has helped the people in Balakong, but if you come to our area here in Taman Impian Ehsan, Taman Setia Balakong and Taman Karunmas, if you are driving here, you’d get a special kind of experience.

“It is like riding a horse. That is how bad the roads are,” she said.

Rubiah said she was not excited over the by-election this Saturday, adding that there was little hope for Balakong to see better infrastructure.

“Without good infrastructure, how do you expect a township to grow and advance?”

The tolled roads surrounding the town were not helpful either, she added.

Rubiah claimed that the Malays here felt neglected, although the Chinese electorate had only praise for Pakatan Harapan (PH).

“We’d always be left out. Whenever we hear the Chinese community praise the PH coalition, we can only sit quietly and hope that one day, they will remember that we exist.”

Some 60% of Balakong voters are Chinese, while Malays make up about 30%.

In the 14th general election, Ng got 41,768 votes. MCA’s Lim Chee Wah received 5,874 votes and PAS’ Mohamad Ibrahim Ghazali got 6,230 votes.

The by-election on Sept 8 sees MCA using its logo for the first time as it tries to wrest the seat from DAP, which will be contesting under the PH banner.

The state seat, which comes under the Bangi federal constituency, fell vacant after Ng’s death in a road accident on July 20.

Another resident, Selina Mokhtar, 32, said Balakong was racially segregated, even as some attribute PH’s victory to unity among Malaysians.

“You don’t feel it here. We are still as segregated as ever. The Chinese won’t enter into the Malay village areas, and vice versa.

“All the talk about PH being able to bridge the racial divide is just talk. It has not translated into reality.”

She added that Balakong would never be able to grow out of its “Chinese New Village” image.

“Whether PH or Barisan Nasional, they both represent a multiracial coalition. But sadly, this is not reflected in our neighbourhood,” she said.

“We are supposed to co-exist and help each other. But to date, I don’t even know my neighbours, let alone communicate with someone from another township.”