A loss if non-Malays have no representation in Malacca govt – Rafiq

State PN chief: The people no longer have confidence in Harapan.

MALACCA POLLS | Malacca PN chief Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen said it would be a loss for the non-Malay community if they have no representation in the next Malacca government.

Rafiq noted that many in the non-Malay community have previously supported Pakatan Harapan but he believes that the coalition would now have no chance of winning in this state election.

“In my opinion, if the Chinese community wants their representative to be in the (next state) government, they need to support Gerakan.

“I don’t want to say this, but in general, the people, especially the Malays, no longer have confidence in Harapan.

“Without Malay support, I do not see how Harapan can return to power in Malacca. And thus, it is not strategic for the non-Malays to throw their weight behind Harapan as they would only add an opposition voice in the State Legislative Assembly,” Rafiq (below) told Malaysiakini in an interview.

Rafiq claimed that the position of the Malays had been “threatened” when Harapan was in power.

He said the non-Malay community need to have representatives in the state executive council (exco) to attend to matters related to their interest that are discussed in the exco meetings.

“Thus, it would be a loss to the non-Malay communities to not have any representative in the state executive council,” he said.

In Malacca, PN is comprised of Bersatu, PAS and Gerakan. The membership of Gerakan, formerly a BN component party, is open to all races but the party is largely known to be Chinese-centric.

The other major coalitions battling for seats in the Malacca state election are BN, which comprises Umno, MCA and MIC and Harapan comprising PKR, Amanah and DAP.

‘For the first time, Malaccans have a third choice’

According to Rafiq, PN is gunning for at least 15 state seats in order to be able to form a simple majority government – but it hopes that Malaccans would give PN more seats to ensure political stability in the state.

For the first time in this state assembly election, Rafiq said, Malaccans have a third choice.

“Since independence, Malaysians only had two political coalitions to choose from. On one hand, they have BN led by Umno, and another is the opposition with DAP inside it.

“So they had no other choice. Those who dislike DAP would have to vote BN, and vice -versa. Like it or not, they have to choose one or the other if they want to vote.

“But for the first time now, those who dislike Harapan but also do not want to vote BN into power, they have another coalition to choose.”

Political frogs

Asked what PN has to offer the Malacca voters, Rafiq said they have several initiatives in mind to spur the state’s economy.

Among them is to develop more tourism products, including to transform Pulau Besar, which is located within the Telok Mas constituency.

Located 13km off Malacca coast, Pulau Besar Is key attraction for tourist

“We want that, after this, when tourists come to Malacca, they would have more places to visit, on top of the existing attractions like the A Famosa, asam pedas outlets and ikan bakar restaurants.

“The island has many potentials, where we can develop other products to attract families to come for recreation. This is what I want to see through if PN is chosen to lead Malacca,” he said.

Rafiq, who is contesting in Telok Mas, said the state also needs to develop more sophisticated industrial parks and provide ready facilities to receive investors.

The Malacca state election was called after the collapse of the Umno-Bersatu government under incumbent chief minister Sulaiman Md Ali after defections by four assemblypersons.

On Oct 4, four assemblypersons led by Umno’s Sungai Udang representative Idris Haron, announced their decision to withdraw support for Sulaiman.

‘All political parties in the country have frogs’

The Umno-Bersatu government was itself formed after the Harapan government collapsed when Bersatu quit the coalition.

Asked about the issue of political defections, Rafiq maintained that it affected all three coalitions.

“I want to say this, that all political parties in Malacca and this country have received them (political frogs). If we want to talk about politicians leaping from one party to another, every political party has accepted leaders from another party.

“I take Harapan as an example. The coalition was proud, saying that it fights for integrity and would never accept political frogs. They also branded other parties, including PN.

“But today, they accepted two BN assemblypersons to contest on the Harapan ticket. So, I ask, did Harapan realise it did?” Rafiq asked.

Harapan fielded former Umno leaders Idris Haron and Nor Azman Hassan as its candidates for Asahan and Pantai Kundor respectively.

The duo was among those who had withdrawn support for Sulaiman.

PKR president Anwar Ibrahim had maintained that the two are not “traitors” as they were trying to help restore the Harapan government, which legitimately won Malacca in the 2018 general election.

Sulaiman, in a bid to thwart Harapan’s comeback, sought a dissolution of the state assembly, paving the way for the fresh polls.

Malaccans will go to the polls this Saturday to elect 28 representatives to the state assembly.

By : HARIZ MOHD – MALAYSIAKINI

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