Migrants, lack of development a concern for Balakong voters

BANGI: Voters in Balakong have questioned the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government’s administration in the area, saying it is lagging behind in terms of development, and social problems still abound despite the coalition’s promise to do a better job than Barisan Nasional (BN).

Pakatan Rakyat, the precursor to PH, took over Balakong from BN in 2008 but 10 years later, there does not appear to be much improvement in the constituency, Rosliani Daud told FMT.

Rosliani, who is in her late 20s, said she had gone to primary school in Cheras Perdana.

“Did you know that Cheras Perdana is known as a notorious school? Drug problems are prominent among students, along with other disciplinary problems.

“Most students go to school only to learn the basics. It’s a cycle because they and their parents both come from non-educated backgrounds.”

She said the influx of foreigners had also changed the face of the area, adding that she hardly recognised her neighbourhood anymore.

“The majority of students in the Cheras Jaya and Tanming Jaya schools are Indonesians. I’m not sure how they got enrolled in these schools, but they make up quite a number of the students there.

“I was told that their parents migrated into our country after 2004, when Aceh was wiped out by the tsunami. Some have since married locals, and many remain here.”

Indonesians also dominate the majority of sundry businesses, especially in Impian Ehsan and the surrounding area, she added.

She said locals were concerned about the large number of foreigners in the area, adding that hygiene was bad. She suggested that a form of social work be carried out there to keep the area “comfortable and safe for locals”.

Referring to the many Bangladeshis also in the area, she said there were concerns over whether they had proper work permits.

“They were likely hired to work at development projects in the vicinity, but because they move in a huge group, it worries us when we are on the streets alone,” she said.

The Balakong constituency saw an increase of more than 18,000 voters since the 13th general election as a result of the redelineation exercise that saw the polling districts of Sungai Chua Satu to Sungai Chua Lima transferred in from Kajang.

Other existing polling districts include Kampung Baharu (Baru) Balakong, Bandar Damai Perdana, Perimbun, Batu 11 Cheras, Cheras Perdana, Bandar Tun Hussein Onn, Simpang Balak, Desa Baiduri, Cheras Jaya, Taman Suria Jaya, Taman Sri Bahagia, Balakong Jaya and Tanming Jaya.

Another voter, Amri Dahlan, said he and his family were beginning to doubt their decision to support PH in the May 9 polls.

Although they had supported the coalition since its early days as Pakatan Rakyat, Amri, 34, said there had been little development in the area.

“There are no banks or petrol stations. Worse for Muslims, there is not much choice of food. We often have to drive out to Seri Kembangan. There are fast-food chains, but we can’t eat that every day.

“Subang Jaya is about half an hour from here, but we are nowhere as developed as Subang Jaya. Why? In terms of constituents, we’re about the same size.”

Although there had been some mixed-development projects in Balakong, he said, this did not help locals very much as they were not affordable.

“Some people say there has been development here, but if they include building luxury condominiums as development, they have misunderstood what this township needs.

“The majority of constituents are middle- to low-income earners. There is no way they will be able to afford anything near or above RM300,000.”

Instead of “blindly trying to modernise Balakong”, Amri said, the state government should identify how it can leverage on existing infrastructure to enable social-economic expansion.

The Balakong by-election this Saturday follows the death of incumbent assemblyman Eddie Ng of DAP. Ng died in a road accident on July 20.