PKR banks on ex-deputy minister to win back Wangsa Maju

Md Izwan, The Malaysian Insider

PKR is banking on a former deputy minister to take back the Wangsa Maju urban constituency needed to seize federal power in Election 2013.

Former Deputy Minister Land and Cooperative Development Datuk Dr Tan Tee Kwong had started reconnecting with the voters to increase his profile on the ground since incumbent Wangsa Maju representative Wee Choo Keong quit the party in 2010 and turned Independent though pledging support to the Barisan Nasional (BN) federal coalition.

In a recent Sunday walkabout, Dr Tan told The Malaysian Insider that he is now more comfortable and confident after meeting Wangsa Maju residents regularly.

“After two years, the walkabouts and contributions to the needy have started to show positive result,” said the former Gerakan MP.

He also confessed that the hardest task is to convince the voters who question his loyalty to PKR, and to assure them that another party-hopping incident will not repeat itself.

“The first time I was here, almost everybody I met asked what assurance can I give them if I win,” Dr Tan added.

Two high-ranking PKR leaders have also acknowledged that Dr Tan was given the responsibility to take care of the area’s party branch after Wee left.

“(Dr Tan) was given the responsibility to restore the party’s image and strengthen the election machinery,” said PKR Secretary-General Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.

“The possibility of him contesting (in Wangsa Maju) is there.”

PKR Communications Director Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad also echoed Saifuddin’s view of Dr Tan’s chances.

“A full decision is yet to be made, but that’s it… maybe Tan will contest that seat,” the Seri Setia assemblyman said.

Dr Tan’s presence was lauded by Mohammad Hamdi Mohd Said, who was part of the election machinery’s backbone which contributed to Wee’s win back in 2008.

“Almost every week, (Dr Tan) would go to the ground to meet the residents,” the Wangsa Maju PKR Youth Chief said.

“After Wee left, it became a bit chaotic, but since Tan took over, situation has changed.

“Tan is a true politician, and he is not shy to go to the ground, unlike Wee who did so rarely.

“His character is so different to the old candidate, because in 2008 we made a big mistake by putting a parachute candidate.”