PSM confident of capturing Semenyih
Lisa J. Ariffin | March 18, 2013
PSM candidate for Semenyih S Arutchelvan speaks of his achievements and future plans for the constituency.
PETALING JAYA: Parti Sosialis Malaysia’s S Arutchelvan is a familiar face in Semenyih, Selangor.
Despite contesting the seat in 2008 and losing to Umno’s Johan Abdul Aziz, Arutchelvan never gave up working for the rakyat in the area, especially since he was appointed as the Zone 18 councillor in the nearby Kajang Municipal Council (MPKJ).
The PSM secretary-general recently announced that he will be recontesting the Semenyih seat and had unveiled his personal “report card” for his work at the state constituency since the last general election.
In an interview with FMT recently, Arutchelvan spoke on his past achievements, future plans for Semenyih and his chances of capturing the seat.
FMT: What are the major problems in Semenyih and what is PSM doing to ease them?
Arutchelvan: One of the biggest challenges in Semenyih is the low cost flats – they are in deplorable conditions. This is because those who live there are burdened with three types of payments : quit rent, land tax and maintenance fee.
The majority of them are not owners and are only renting the flats, that’s why they choose not to pay maintenance fee. Our (PSM) committee has managed to convince the Selangor state government to reduce their assessment tax by 25% and MPKJ (Kajang City Council) has agreed to takeover drainage and grasskeeping duties.
Another major problem in Semenyih is the traffic. One of the main points in the Pakatan Rakyat manifesto is to get the MRT line extended from Kajang to Semenyih and to Barangan. The solution is not more cars, but more public transportation.
We will also schedule a meeting with Lekas (of Kajang-Seremban highway) to reduce toll prices or (convince) the Selangor state government to take over the highway.
Following numerous complaints of vandalism in public parks and playgrounds, we launched a “neighbourhood watch” campaign whereby we put up banners with my phone number and numbers of city councillors and contractors.
Residents are encouraged to call up the contractors directly to lodge their complaints. The residents are paying taxes and we want the contractors to be accountable to the local people.
FMT: What do you think your chances are of capturing Semenyih?
Arutchelvan: I think my chances are very good. In 2008, we lost by 1,100 votes which is politically a small margin. In this election, the voters of Semenyih have increased from 28,000 to 41,000, so there is a 13,000-voter increase. These new voters are concentrated in the urban parts of Semenyih (Arutchelvan then explains that in 2008 he had lost in Malay rural areas).
I also find the people are not as hostile as they were before. They are much more receptive and have been giving us a more positive response. Just last week I went to Kampung Pasir with the ABU (Asalkan Bukan Umno) team, and the reception was quite good, there was no problems. Therefore I think my chances this time around is quite good.