PETALING JAYA: Muar-born Sam Lim, a former policeman and later a dolphin trainer, has been elected as an Australian MP after he won the Perth seat of Tangey in what was regarded as an unlikely result.
Lim, a Labor party candidate, defeated Ben Morton of the Liberal party with a 9.5% margin, as the Labor party ended almost a decade of conservative rule by the Liberal-National coalition in yesterday’s federal parliamentary elections.
Lim’s victory in Western Australia was part of a wave of support for candidates who campaigned for more action on climate change as the conservatives were punished by voters in the state and affluent urban seats in particular.
Lim was a former police officer in Malaysia who quit after two years because of the low pay, he told FMT in an interview in December 2020.
Being a police officer was his childhood dream but “as a constable, I was making RM275 a month, and after deductions there would only be about RM180 left. I wanted to share some with my parents, but there was so little,” he said in the interview.
He emigrated to Australia in 2002 with his wife and three children and he went back to doing what he loves, joining the Western Australian police at the age of 45.
He was named Western Australia’s police officer of the year in 2020 for his work with migrant communities.
“I’m still a kampung boy at heart,” he said in the FMT interview. “Some days I will bring my nasi lemak to the office and even with the smell of the sambal and the ikan bilis, nobody makes any comments. Everyone is very tolerant of each other.”
Lim is the second Malaysian-born person to become a member of the Australian federal Parliament. Penny Wong, born in Kota Kinabalu, was elected to the Senate, representing South Australia, since 2002.
She is expected to become Australia’s new foreign minister.