Desaria and Teluk Intan

This morning, volunteers from HELP and ex La Sallians joined my volunteers and some local residents of Desaria to do some serious gotong royong work. MBPJ provided tools and 6 workers too. In 3 hours, we cleared almost two truck load of rubbish including a super heavy old telephone booth (it needed 8 to carry it).

Things are starting to look better in Desaria; we cleared their septic tank manholes in February, sent in a case bulldozer to remove big items last month, and my new councillor Halimey installed 2 new street lights yesterday (no electricity yet, the community still owes TNB RM50,000 but my office will try to get MBPJ to pay for powering the new street lights).

However the community is still not really responding to our outreach work. For a community of 2,000 residents, we had only 9 residents taking part, 3 were 12 years olds! I spoke to a lot of people and must have invited some 30 passersby to join but most said they will…later, but eventually did not turn up. It is obvious that there is serious lack of community spirit or perhaps they are still sizing us up. After all they have been left to rot and fend for themselves for the past 15 years.

After my Parliament session in mid June, I will be heading back to Desaria to start the staircase repair project.

After the event, my wife, baby son and I went to YB Hannah’s baby birthday party. YB Rafizi was there too with his wife and baby. Inevitably we talked about what happened in Teluk Intan. Since so many of my readers asked for my personal comments, here goes:

1. The candidate should have been the local hero, Superman (pun intended). He would have won handsomely. But DAP took a calculated risk with Dyana for a greater national goal, which is to attract more Malays to DAP. It was a good effort as the gamble nearly paid off.

2. The DAP election team were city slickers from KL but they were there due to the long running DAP Perak power struggle. However someone like YB Liew Chin Tong should have led, he would have been much more effective as he has proven himself in semi urban and rural seats of Johor.

3. DAP underestimated the rural Chinese “race” and “local boy” bias. As I said earlier, it was a calculated risk but I believe the Perkasa issue in the final stages eroded a small but very decisive portion of the Chinese support. The whole issue was handled very badly.

4. Poor election modeling and logistics. After seeing the lower turnout for Bukit Gelugor (people are just tired of politics), an even lower turnout was expected because TI is a much more rural area. They should have computed this in and spend 50% effort for a big mobilisation campaign. Ironically, the KL team failed to bring back Teluk Intan folks from KL.

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- June 1, 2014

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