Ismail: Kuala Sepetang is ours

(The Star) TAIPING: Barisan Nasional candidate Ismail Saffian is confident that voters in Kuala Sepetang, which is in the Bukit Gantang parliamentary constituency, will back the coalition following the land swap agreement announced by Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat.

He said the Kuala Sepetang fishing town was one of the black areas in the constituency when the Opposition made its presence felt in the last general election.

“I wish to thank Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat for solving the residents’ land problem,” he told reporters after giving aid to single mothers in Jelutong, Bukit Gantang, yesterday.

On Saturday, Ong, who is also MCA president, announced that squatters staying on KTM Berhad land in Kuala Sepetang would be offered land titles soon.

This came about after KTMB and the Railway Asset Management Corporation agreed to swap the land, which residents are squatting on now, with the state government.

With the swap, Ong had said that the state would be able to offer titles to the affected residents.

Most of the squatters are fishermen who live on the land where a railway track connecting Port Weld (now Kuala Sepetang) to Taiping used to be.

Ong said that the land swapping process would begin after the Bukit Gantang by-election.

Meanwhile, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s presence here today is expected to give Barisan an edge in the Bukit Gantang by-election.

His son, Jerlun MP Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, said the former prime minister’s participation in Barisan’s campaign would inject morale not only into the coalition’s election machinery but the voters as well.

He added that one of Dr Mahathir’s main role was to win over the non-Malay voters.

“There’s a feeling that non-Malays need particular attention and Dr Mahathir is addressing them directly. This shows that we are trying to allay their fears.

“During my father’s time (as Prime Minister), the non-Malays gave Barisan 110% support. We want that back,” he told reporters after campaigning in Kampung Baru Jelutong, Changkat Jering.