Felda settlers are now more welcoming of us, says PKR Paloh’s incumbent Sheikh OmarWARTAWAN SINAR HARIAN
As the heat of Johor state elections picks up, Paloh seat incumbent Sheikh Omar, 37 faces a fierce four-cornered fight. He shares his campaign strategies and promises with Sinar Harian's Muhammad Yusainy Mohamad Yunus.
SINAR HARIAN: Share your thoughts on contesting at Paloh seat?
Personally, I am moved to be chosen for the second time, it is so close to my heart. I will carry this responsibility by bringing the hopes of the people to develop Paloh's infrastructure.
SINAR HARIAN: Tell us about your preparation to face the competition?
PH seems to have an advantage in terms of branding as compared to BN, PN while Pejuang is still new. Plus after three years of being their state assemblyman, the efforts and commitment that I have given over the years will add value and give the party an upper hand to win. I am not a new figure in Paloh.
SINAR HARIAN: What sort of campaigns will be carried out to attract voters?
Our machinery from Paloh gives us the added advantage. Our programmes are well received by the people, as the residents have been close to me all these years. This campaign is different from the previous where it was difficult for us to go into BN stronghold areas such as Felda areas but now the campaign materials and flags are allowed in. This proves that our services and efforts are being recognised by the people.
The seat will have an additional 5,000 automatic registration voters, bringing the total of voters to 26,000, 40 percent of voters are 40 while the younger ones are not in the constituency. This is a challenge for us to persuade them to come home and vote.
Other than the physical door-to-door campaigns, we also use social media extensively to spread information and facts so the young would continue to support PH based on our performance. I also assured them the senior citizens will be assisted during their absence to earn a living. In fact, that is my determination and service during my three years as an elected representative.
SINAR HARIAN: What are the issues in Paloh and will you be able to fix them?
A number of development and welfare programmes have been implemented successfully such as the Paloh - Bekuk road to make it easier for the people to get to Segamat, which has cut the journey by half to 30 minutes.
This effort has been approved and included in Malaysia 12th Plan. In addition, the villages located along the railway line have also been upgraded in terms of infrastructure, this will open new economic opportunities.
The diversity of the community in the Paloh state constituency makes this area so special with 47 percent Malays, 37 percent Chinese, 15 percent Indians and one percent indigenous people. Paloh certainly needs a representative who can provide opportunities for all.
SINAR HARIAN: What is your personal manifesto for your voters?
It will be to boost the local economy without abandoning any traditional values. The people here should be given the option to continue living and doing businesses without having to go to the big cities. This demands more modern and seamless infrastructure facilities.
SINAR HARIAN: What are your hopes for the voters?
There is no need for state elections to be held. It is a political game of those who are thirsty for power. But if we fail to choose the right leaders, the people in Johor will have big problems for the next five years.
I humbly appeal to Paloh residents to help us convey the message and facts so that Pakatan Harapan continues to be elected and to serve. I understand we are now struggling with Covid-19, but on March 12, go out to vote, persuade the children to come home to vote. The future of Paloh and the people of Johor is in your own hands. I am Syeikh Omar, the Pakatan Harapan candidate for Paloh constituency, offering myself once again to serve you again.