Port Dickson voters hope for development, not political games

Port Dickson is known for its beaches but voters in the area want more for their constituency. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Voters in Port Dickson have high hopes of improvement and development in their constituency following PKR’s announcement that president-elect Anwar Ibrahim will be contesting the seat in a by-election as part of his parliamentary comeback and transition to becoming the eighth prime minister.

Those who spoke to FMT voiced hope that their new MP would be a strong voice for Port Dickson, which was once known as Teluk Kemang.

They added that they did not want to be forgotten if Anwar wins the seat and goes on to become the next prime minister.

Latifah Rahim, who has lived in the coastal town her entire life, hoped that as the incoming PKR president, Anwar would be able to carry more impact if he wins the by-election.

“I hope this will bring change because not much is known about Port Dickson other than the fact that it is a beach or picnic area.

“Yes, you have the beach but there are no attractions. There are no activities,” she told FMT.

The 33-year-old was commenting on Anwar’s decision to contest the Port Dickson seat, which has been vacated by its MP, former Navy officer Danyal Balagopal Abdullah.

Danyal won the seat in the May 9 election in a three-way fight with Barisan Nasional’s VS Mogan and PAS’ Mahfuz Roslan.

This will be the first time that Anwar stands in a seat outside his hometown of Penang, where he represented Permatang Pauh twice, including for 16 years before his dramatic sacking as deputy prime minister in 1998.

Latifah said in her teenage years, Port Dickson had been more lively with festivals, beach sports activities and kayaking. Such activities would help traders doing business at the beach earn an income, she added.

“But now, everything is gone. Port Dickson has been just left like that.

“There are shopping malls, even if they are not big, as well as Starbucks and McDonald’s. But other than that, Port Dickson does not really have much to offer.”

Alina Omar, 36, agreed, saying sports facilities in the constituency had been left to deteriorate. She gave the example of netball players from a school in Port Dickson who were forced to train in a hall that was not meant for the sport.

“They have to draw their own borders and bring their own poles with nets. How sad is that?”

Alina said she wanted a responsible MP who would touch base with voters not just to get their votes, but to hear their grouses and work on improving the coastal town.

She said after the May 9 polls, she had not seen anyone from the “winning party” go down to the ground and visit voters from house to house.

“They should show their faces and ask how they can bring something good to Port Dickson. But this has not been done.

“Before the general election, they were all so hardworking. They came to please us and to ask for our votes. But now? Everyone is busy with their chief and their campaigns (for the party polls.”

Once the candidate wins the seat, she added, the party should hold a session with the people. “Not to thank us, but to get the views of the people on how to develop Port Dickson.”

If Anwar wins the Port Dickson seat, Alina said, he should not treat it as just a catalyst to return to Parliament and become the prime minister.

She added that she remained loyal to her birthplace although many from the constituency had left to pursue opportunities in other, more developed areas.

“I work in Cyberjaya. My husband works in Putrajaya. We travel to and from Port Dickson from Monday to Friday without fail.

“I do this because I love Port Dickson,” she said. “I want it to be a better place for my children.”

Lina Aris, who was born and raised in Port Dickson but now lives in Ampang, disagreed with the idea of an MP vacating his seat for another candidate.

She said a by-election in the area was unnecessary and a waste of time, but a norm in Malaysian politics.

Noting that Anwar was not a local in Port Dickson, Lina, 35, said the “PD move” was being made to pave the way for him to become the prime minister.

“I don’t agree with such a move. But in the Malaysian political scenario, this has to be done,” she said, adding that there was no way of knowing whether the “formula” would work.

However, she said there was no denying Anwar’s influence, adding that she was honoured he had chosen Port Dickson to make his comeback.