In Pengkalan Batu, seeds sown for the future

“For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.” – US Senator Edward (Ted) Kennedy

This is a story of hope and sowing seeds for the future.

I spent slightly over 2 weeks in N.15 Pengkalan Batu campaigning for my friend Danish Zainudin, while shuttling back and forth for work in Kg Tunku. Pengkalan Batu has 20,923 voters comprising 65% Malay, 28% Chinese, 5% Indian and 2% others. In GE14 (2018), the seat was won by Norhizam Hassan Baktee, who betrayed DAP in the Sheraton move. In October 2021, Norhizam was one of four ADUNs who declared loss of confidence in then-Chief Minister Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali, thus collapsing the Malacca state government and triggering the state elections.

Like Kg Tunku, Pengkalan Batu has an aging voter base, with 60% aged 40 and above. Like me, the challenge for Danish was how to position himself as a fresh and dynamic choice who could also understand the needs of elderly voters. Fortunately, Danish already had 400 days of service in Pengkalan Batu – distributing food aid, providing free transport to vaccination centres and sanitization during the Covid-19 pandemic.

No campaign goes without its challenges. We had 3 back-to-back days of mysteriously fallen and torn billboards. The SOPs were restrictive: leaflets could only be placed into mailboxes, and we weren’t even allowed to conduct “campaign-like activities”. Thanks to the support and selflessness of various DAP teams, especially Bukit Mertajam and Pulau Tikus (Penang), Bangi, Klang, Sepang and Kinrara (Selangor), we managed to run as good a campaign as possible under the circumstances.

We lost to BN by a slim 131 votes – a heart-breaking loss but a choice we respect.

What has really encouraged me is the passion and energy of the young local team. Campaign manager, Cassel Krishnan, 24, maintained a calm head throughout and had the names of key community leaders in his head. Danish’s election agent, Cassian Anthony, 29, managed procedures with the Election Commission (SPR) without a glitch. One of our polling agents and counting agent (PACA) trainers, Jeffrey, hadn’t even voted yet, being newly 21. Because he knew and believed in the importance of protecting each and every vote in the ballot box, he was able to transfer his knowledge so well to older volunteers. We had other key members aged 17 and 18 as well. All of them have served the Pengkalan Batu communities alongside Danish before this election.

There is much for us to learn from the various 𝘴𝘢𝘭𝘶𝘳𝘢𝘯 results but in these young people I see hope, talent, and big hearts for serving the community.

Going forward, on DAP and Harapan’s end, perhaps the practice of naming candidates last-minute should be phased out. Public trust in political parties remain low, with more preferring to see whether the candidate has worked the ground in the constituency or nearby vicinity. This is especially important in semi-rural and rural areas. We were lucky that Danish had 400 days of service in Pengkalan Batu, otherwise the margin of loss might have been larger. Our team will support him in continuing towards 500, 600 days of service and more – in Danish’s own words, “untuk terus berbudi dan berkhidmat”.

Lim Yi Wei
SA FOR KG. TUNKU
Media statement by Lim Yi Wei in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 22nd November 2021