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Rafizi Ramli to contest in the Kelana Jaya parliamentary seat

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PETALING JAYA – Will PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli contest in the Kelana Jaya parliamentary seat? Although he is tipped to contest in the Pandan parliamentary seat, some representatives of the Selangor government are lobbying for him to stand in Kelana Jaya.

Speculation is rife that Kelana Jaya MP Loh Gwo-Burne has a slim chance of retaining his seat.

According to one leader, Loh was not popular among the residents as he was “inactive” as an MP.

One community leader said he would rather not vote in the election if Loh defended his seat. “The problem is, we don’t see him at all. And he has done nothing so far,” said the resident. “It is unfortunate because he was given a chance to do something but he has wasted it.”

Professional photographer Nazeerul Haqeem, 24, also said Loh’s presence was lacking in the constituency. “I think (Seri Setia assemblyman) Nik Nazmi (Nik Ahmad) is more of a people person. He has buka puasa events and dinners with residents,” Nazeerul said.

PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar said, however, that Rafizi was already working on building his repertoire in Pandan, a seat firmly held by former MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat for two terms now. “At the moment, Rafizi is working hard in Pandan,” she said.

Asked if Rafizi had a better chance of winning in Kelana Jaya, Nurul Izzah said his recent prosecution under the Banking and Financial Institutions Act 1989 for disclosing banking details on the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) scandal may serve to boost his reputation among the voters in Pandan.

“So (Datuk Seri) Ong Tee Keat should be less than confident in retaining his seat,” she said.

Nurul Izzah said the party would decide on the seat allocations “when it is ready”.

Loh was amused when told of the attempts to field Rafizi. “I spoke to Rafizi and he seems to be focused on Pandan,” he said.

However, he admitted that there was much to be done in the constituency, especially with regards to urban poverty, and said he would defend his seat.

“People from the poor areas like Desa Mentari are asking us to stay and help them,” Loh said. “Slums in areas like Glenmarie need a lot of attention.”

He said other major issues such as traffic problems and crime rates were also important but these matters fell under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

“I am not saying the federal government is not doing enough but such matters need at least five to 10 years to be resolved,” he said.

“The public transport system needs to be restructured, car ownership needs to be reduced, and crime rates need the attention of the police force.

“For me, I feel that tackling urban poverty is crucial because it will also stem the increase of crime.”

Meanwhile, Rafizi said although he had to wait for the party’s leadership to decide on the fielding of candidates, he was already preparing to contest in Pandan.

“I think the party’s approach right now is to field national candidates against strong Barisan Nasional (BN) candidates,” he said.

“I really appreciate the calls for me to contest in Kelana Jaya but comparing Kelana Jaya with Pandan, Pandan is the more difficult seat to win for Pakatan Rakyat (PR), so that is why I have to go to Pandan,” he said with a laugh.

Loh was among eight elected representatives from the Pakatan Rakyat allegedly offered a total of RM160 million to leave and become independent representatives. He made this claim at the Selangor state assembly on July 12.

The urban, mostly affluent Kelana Jaya constituency has 95,647 voters, comprising 41 per cent Chinese, 39 per cent Malays and 18 per cent Indians.

The Pandan constituency has 78,128 voters, comprising 47 per cent Chinese, 45 per cent Malays and six per cent Indians.

Loh’s only claim to fame before 2008 was recording a conversation involving lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam allegedly interfering in the appointment of judges. –MMail