PETALING JAYA: A former city councillor and a former residents’ association president have questioned PKR’s rationale for dropping Maria Chin Abdullah as a candidate in the coming polls.
Former MBPJ councillor Richard Yeoh said he was puzzled by PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli’s claim that the former Petaling Jaya MP was dropped to “meet the demands of the electorate”.
“I’m not aware that any effort was made to assess or ascertain the demands of the electorate,” he told FMT.
Yeoh, who served as MBPJ councillor from 2008 to 2013, defended Maria as an MP, saying she was hardworking, “very connected” to the community, and “very active”, especially during the movement control order (MCO).
On Friday, Rafizi said the party had chosen Lee Chean Chung over Maria because the constituency required a “highly educated Chinese” who had the energy to move around and could handle civil society groups.
Lee, a two-term Pahang assemblyman, was someone who “fits the bill”, Rafizi said.
Yeoh claimed residents were resentful of having candidates who were parachuted in and who had no connection with the local community.
Benjamin Thompson, a former RA president for Section 5, said Maria, who has a bachelor’s degree in applied economics and a master’s degree in urban planning, was “highly educated” enough.
Thompson also hailed her “amazing” energy levels, saying she would rarely send a stand-in for community gatherings.
“Quite frankly, I am not sure what else any member of the electorate could expect of their MP,” he said
Lengkuk Golf SS7 RA member Esham Salam questioned Rafizi’s emphasis on race in choosing the candidate, claiming that Petaling Jaya residents were not happy with this.
He said he was perplexed that Rafizi had “played the race card”.
Having lived in Petaling Jaya for many decades and having been active in civil society, he said, he found race to be rarely a factor.
“I know many PJ activists and residents are slighted by that statement,” Esham said.
Yeoh also said this was the first time he had heard that race was a factor in choosing a candidate.
“In the past, we have chosen non-Chinese representatives and they did well in PJ,” he said, referring to R Sivarasa and R Rajiv.
Sivarasa was the Subang MP from from 2008 to 2018 and Rajiv was a two-term assemblyman for Bukit Gasing.