THE parliamentary constituency of Kampar in Perak has been keenly contested by MCA and DAP over much of its history.
The seat was held by DAP for two terms from 1986 to 1990, before MCA wrested it from them in 1995 and held on to it until 2013.
In the 2013 election, sentiment on the ground shifted once again and DAP’s Dr Ko Chung Sen saw victory over MCA candidate Datuk Lee Chee Leong.
For GE14, the recent redelineation of electoral boundaries has raised eligible voters in the constituency from 63,619 to 66,579.
MCA’s choice for the parliamentary seat, Datuk Lee Chee Leong, whose candidacy was announced by the party president in January, has other plans in terms of propelling change in the constituency.
He said while Kampar is recognised as Perak’s educational hub, it has potential to grow in other sectors.
“There is more to this developing district than institutions of higher learning,” he said, referring to Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tunku Abdul Rahman University College.
Lee, who held the position of Kampar MP from 2008 to 2013, wants to spur development in the constituency with a variety of activities.
One of them is eco-tourism, thanks to Kampar’s richness in nature-based attractions.
The land around the Kinta Nature Park, which covers parts of Kampar, Tanjung Tualang and Chenderong, is quickly becoming known as a bird sanctuary.
The many ex-mining ponds in the area have become a magnet for both local and migrating birds, said Lee.
“When birds migrate over here during the winter season in Siberia, there are easily more than 100 bird species found there.
“It becomes the perfect haven for bird watchers,” he said.
Lee said boosting tourism in Kampar would offer new jobs to the locals as well.
“There are many quaint homes in New Villages here that can be refurbished into vintage-style homestays.
“Besides this, the villagers can also be trained to take on jobs such as tour guides to help improve the experience of travellers,” he said.
Lee named other eco-tourism activities readily available in Kampar, such as cave exploration in Gua Tempurung and water rafting.
“Kampar already has all these wonders to offer to the world, but to truly tap into the potential, we will need to do more to upgrade infrastructure as well.
“This is part of Kampar MCA team’s plan to further develop the area,” he said.
Lee said boosting other sectors in Kampar is vital now that the influx of students into the educational hub has made the local economy quite vibrant.
“But, relying on the existing universities to bring further development is not enough.
“There will come a time when the universities will not be able to take in more students and when that happens, the economic environment might come to a standstill,” he said, adding that Utar currently has an enrolment of 14,000 students.
With more people coming to Kampar for work and studies, Lee stressed that this is exactly the time to to tap into more of Kampar’s potential in other sectors.
It was also announced that Kampar MCA deputy chief Chang Gwo Chyang and secretary Daniel Wa Wai How will contest the Malim Nawar and Keranji state seats.
Chang said je aims to tackle land-ownership problems and improve the livelihoods of New Villagers, while Wa wants a more advanced drainage and irrigation system for the constituency.
On the other hand, Dr Ko said the redelineation was most likely done to improve Barisan Nasional’s chances of winning in different areas.
“To me, moving 3,000 voters, mostly Malays, from Chenderiang (a state seat currently held by MCA), seems like a manoeuvre to boost Barisan’s chances of winning Kampar back,” he said.
Dr Ko said the people on the ground are frustrated with national issues plaguing the current administration.
He said the biggest problem people can identify is corruption, followed by the rising cost of living.
“The sentiments shared by my friends have never been this bad for as long as they can remember.
“This remains something critical that needs to be dealt with,” he said.
Dr Ko said, if he successfully defends his seat, his number one aim will be to fight for a new hospital in Kampar.
“A new hospital was promised in 2012 to replace the current old hospital, but the plan has been delayed for five years now.
“Whether I win or lose, I will continue trying to get this issue resolved as quickly as possible, as it affects all Kampar constituents,” he said.
Dr Ko said the old Kampar hospital was built in 1949 on a hill and is no longer suitable.
“Access is difficult for the sick and the elderly when they have to walk up a near 30° slope.
“It is very steep – too steep for old vehicles to go up,” he said, adding that it is not feasible to upgrade the old hospital anymore because the location is unsuitable.
“It is high time that Kampar residents get a new, modern hospital, especially now that Bandar Baru Kampar is developing quite rapidly,” he said.
Under the Kampar parliamentary constituency, the Malim Nawar state seat has 22,465 voters from the polling districts of Malim Nawar Utara, Malim Nawar Tengah, Malim Nawar Lama, Malim Nawar Selatan, Malim Nawar Baharu, Malim Nawar, Kampar Barat, Mambang Diawan Utara, Mambang Diawan Selatan, Mambang Diawan Barat, Kampong Ayer Hitam, Tronoh Mines, Kampong Ayer Papan, Pekan Tanjong Tualang, Sungai Durian, Kampong Timah and Changkat Tin.
The Keranji state seat has 20,772 voters from the polling districts of Kampar Utara, Wah Loong Road, Kampong Aston, Taman Bandar Baru, Jalan Kuala Dipang, Jalan Gopeng, Simpang Lima, Kampong Changkat, Jalan Keranji, Jalan Baharu, Jalan Labu, Wah Loong Tengah, Wah Loong Selatan, Jalan Post Office and Jalan Iskandar.
The Tualang Sekah state seat has 23,342 voters from polling districts Ayer Denak, Kampong Batu Tujoh, Ladang Lembah Kinta, Kampong Chenderong, Kampong Ayer Mati, Changkat Tualang, Ladang Kinta Kellas, Ladang Kota Bharu, Kota Bharu, Changkat Bharu, Tualang Sekah, Kuala Dipang, Jeram Selatan, Jeran Timor, Jeram Barat, Kampong Pisang, Gunong Mesah, Sungai Siput Selatan, and Kampung Sahum.
Currently, DAP’s Chen Fook Chye is Keranji assemblyman, while DAP’s Leong Cheok Keng is Malim Nawar assemblyman.
DAP candidates for the two state seats have yet to be confirmed for the general election, although there is talk that Leong may defend his seat.
There is also a possibility that a new face, Chong Zhe Min, who is Perak DAP economic bureau chief, will be fielded for Keranji.
The Opposition is expected to field a PKR candidate for Tualang Sekah.
The Tualang Sekah state seat is currently held by Puteri Umno’s Datuk Nolee Ashilin Mohd Radzi and it is expected that she will defend the seat.
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