PORT DICKSON: When former serviceman Wong Tak Eng joined the army several decades ago, he did so in order to escape the family business: pig farming.
“But because it was a family business, I had to help my family whenever I could,” Wong, who is now 73, told FMT.
Wong comes from Bukit Pelandok, a village in the Chuah state constituency of Port Dickson.
At one point in time, he said, pig farming was the main line of business for most of the villagers. But following the breakout of the Nipah virus in 1998, which saw the death of 108 people, pig farms were banned.
“After all the pig farms were closed down, many people lost their jobs,” he recalled.
“Good thing there was the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Many went there to look for jobs, while others moved on to chicken farming.”
The bulk of the villagers however had no choice but to move to Kuala Lumpur to look for jobs.
Today, Wong said, the situation was still the same: a lack of job opportunities in the surrounding area.
“This is one thing lacking in Port Dickson,” he said. “So much more can be developed here. The previous administration only knew how to swindle money.”
But with a by-election coming up on Oct 13, Wong sees hope for change in the constituency.
“Anwar Ibrahim is a smart man,” he said. “We hope that he will be able to do something different and better for us here.”
The Port Dickson by-election follows the resignation of PKR’s Danyal Balagopal Abdullah, who vacated his seat to pave the way for Anwar’s attempt to return to Parliament.
It will see a seven-way fight between Anwar, Lt Col (R) Mohd Nazari Mokhtar (PAS) and four independent candidates: former Negeri Sembilan menteri besar Isa Samad, social media personalities Stevie Chan and Kan Chee Yuen as well as Anwar’s former personal assistant, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
When asked what other concerns the Port Dickson people had, Wong said he hoped Anwar would look into the allocation of land for ex-servicemen if he won.
“Many years ago, we proposed this. The allocation of land for ex-servicemen, we thought, could be in appreciation for our many years of service to the country.”
He told FMT that it was not easy for those of lower ranking.
“They struggle to survive after they retire from service.
“The previous administration said they would look into it, but there is no news until today. We proposed 20 acres then, but today, even if they allocate one or two acres, we would be very thankful.”
For a long time, Wong said, he voted for MCA. In the 2013 general election however he decided to support Pakatan Rakyat. In the May 9 polls, he voted for Pakatan Harapan.
“I used to vote for MCA, for many terms. But they could not do anything for us. So I thought, let’s vote for someone else and hopefully things will change.”