The Sungai Besar by-election on Saturday will have far-reaching implications and consequences for Sekinchan, Sungai Besar as well as Malaysia, and those who think that the by-election is just about who will be the new MP for the area and will have no other larger meaning or importance cannot be more wrong.
Although both the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections cannot materially change the respective parliamentary numbers and strength of the political parties, a defeat by UMNO in the sixty-year-old UMNO traditional stronghold of Sungai Besar and/or Kuala Kangsar would have an traumatic effect which will affect the future of Datuk Seri Najib Razak as Prime Minister – whether immediately, in the next 24 months or during the 14th General Election by 2018.
In fact, a defeat for UMNO in Sungai Besar and/or Kuala Kangsar will be world news and make history for by-elections in Malaysia, for it would tally with international perceptions and sentiments about the1MDB global scandal hounding and haunting the Malaysian Prime Minister and government, and a clear signal that even Malaysians in semi-urban areas are not politically apathetic or unconcerned about global scandals, good governance and the great questions of right and wrong in public affairs as many had thought.
In the past two weeks, I have virtually become a resident of Sekinchan, shuttling between Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar, and I have been quite intrigued by the history of Sekinchan, for instance, the origin of the name “Sekinchan”.
Sixty-five to seventy years ago, there was no “Sekinchan” and the area was known as “Sixteen Gi” or 16 milestone Kuala Selangor – and I was sort of a resident of Kuala Selangor for two months in 1969, when I was detained under the Internal Security Act after May 13, 1969, and held at the Kuala Selangor Police Station lock-up for two months before my formal detention at the Muar Detention Centre.
In the past six to seven decades, the people of Sekinchan have reasons to be proud of themselves, turning Sekinchan into a Farm for Rice and Seafood – apart from producing a world-famous IT entrepreneur.
In the past ten years, under the leadership of the DAP State Assemblyman for Sekinchan, Ng Suee Lin, Sekinchan has blazed further ahead to become a tourist hot-spot in Malaysia.
If there can be political change in Putrajaya in the 14th General Election, a Pakatan Harapan Federal Government will promote Sekinchan as an international tourist destination just as Suee Lin has succeeded in making Sekinchan a top tourist spot in Malaysia – with international tourists coming to Malaysia because they want to visit Sekinchan.
This progress and upward movement of Sekinchan from “Farm for Rice and Seafood” to “National Tourist Hot-Spot” to another advanced stage as “International Tourist Attraction” will have to await political change, and the role of Sekinchan and Sungai Besar to play a vanguard role in political change in Malaysia.
This is why the Sungai Besar by-election on Saturday is not just about who is going to be the new MP, but also whether Sekinchan and Sungai Besar can take next step for advanced political, social and economic development for the area.
(Speech at the Pakatan Harapan Sungai Besar by-election ceramah at Bagan, Sekinchan on Thursday, 16th June 2016 at 9 pm)