Groundbreaking village poll heats up

Malaysian democracy has reached a new milestone, noted KL and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall CEO Tang Ah Chai, as five Pandamaran village chief aspirants took center stage for a debate.

The politics expression night, which was organized by Selangor government and IP television eTV, saw social worker Yap Kim Huat and former DAP member Tee Boon Hock banking on their past records to garner villagers’ support.

On the other hand, PKR councillor and women organization leader Low See Mee drew the crowd with her understanding on local, state and federal authorities’ power.

Held in Pandamaran sheltered basketball court, the debate was divided into six sessions, which were politics expression, questions from the guest, question among the candidates, questions from the crowd, conclusion and comments from the guest.

The only absentee at the 400-odd crowd event was the number three candidate Tee Kim Huat.

During the first session, Yap revealed that he has been working for the society, attending and solving local problems without expecting for a reward.

“My style is, I will contact the relevant authorities when I identify a problem. I will give them two or three days to solve it, if that does not happen, I will call the media,” he said.

Tee, on the other hand, said he has resolved a lot of local issues, varied from single mothers looking for fund to a handicapped teenager who requested to be eliminated from national service.

“I have been serving for 27 years through party and local council platforms. I can assure you that whatever matter you find me, I will handle it,” he said.

Low, who is the only female candidate, noted the lack of female village heads among 452 new villages in Malaysia.

“There are male and female voters, why can’t we have female village head then?” she said.

  

 (from left) Tan Yu Thiam, Yap Hock Siew, Yap Kim Huat, Tee Boon Hock and Low See Mee

Meanwhile, incumbent Yap Hock Siew said he will be looking at hygiene and security woes if he is elected.

Pandamaran market hygiene supervisor Tan Yu Thiam pledged to form an inclusive village committee comprising leaders from temples, schools, societies and associations to develop Pandamaran.

Jalan Papan and letterhead

The night went smooth until the Q&A session among candidates.

When asked by Yap Hock Siew over the way he is going to develop the place, Yap Kim Huat said he will increase entrance and exit to Pandamaran and erect a sign board from highway to direct outsiders to the village.

Tan, on the other hand, said he will look into the Kg Jalan Papan relocation fiasco and the garbage woes surrounding on it.

“The relocation deadlock stagnate the development, but it has caused a major garbage problem. People throw garbage at the bridgehead, but garbage trucks are too big to enter the place,” he said.

Expelled DAP member Tee Boon Hock was not saved from his “letterhead scandal”, when a villager asked him why he is treating the election as an avenue to clear his name.

“The district officer already said they can’t find any evidence to prosecute me, now I only hope the villagers can support me to prove my innocence,” he answered.

“Be accountable to your boss”

When concluding the session, Low See Mei said she is well-versed on the venue to apply for funds for the villagers.

“A parliamentarian got income tax, a state assembly-person got land tax and a councillor got assessment rate.”

“I know who to look for whenever there is a problem, and I am sure I can co-operate with them well,” she said.

Tang Ah Chai (below, left), who was one of the three-member panel to monitor the debate, hopes the Election Commission can emulate Selangor government in organizing such debates.

“We would like to see such debate being organized in all state and national constituencies in the coming general election, hopefully with live broadcasts from the national television stations,” he told a cheering crowd.

Another panelist Wong Chin Huat praised the candidates for their good knowledge on local issues.

“It proves that no matter what post you are contesting, ultimately you must be accountable to your boss, which are the people,” he (below, right) said.