FOR years, constituents living in the once-thriving tin mining town of Gopeng have hungered for change.
As the general election looms, voters there are noticeably jaded while some are cautiously hopeful.
In 2008, the Gopeng parliamentary seat was wrested from Barisan Nasional as a majority of the voters elected Dr Lee Boon Chye of PKR.
The parliamentary constituency consists of Teja, Simpang Pulai and Sungai Rapat state seats.
PKR’s Chang Lih Kang and Tan Kar Hing are Teja and Simpang Pulai assemblymen, while PAS’ Radzi Zainon is Sungai Rapat assemblyman.
PKR, Amanah and PAS have yet to announce their candidates for the seats, although there is talk that Tan will defend his seat while newcomer Sandrea Ng will contest in Teja.
From Barisan Nasional, Gopeng MCA division chief Datuk Albert Chang and executive secretary Elynn Liew have been tipped to contest the Teja and Simpang Pulai seats, while Gopeng Umno division chief Datuk Hamzah Kassim is expected to contest Sungai Rapat.
Dr Lee and Wanita MCA chief Datuk Heng Seai Kie have both been tipped to contest the parliamentary seat.
The town of Gopeng comes under the Teja state seat.
Chang said his team had been dedicated in helping the people of Gopeng.
“We do what we can to serve and I am confident that the people are able to see our sincerity,” he said.
He described the sentiment on the ground now as “a time when people know to return home for their meal.”
“We know that people are craving change, especially in Gopeng town.
“We have drawn up plans to rejuvenate the town by boosting the agricultural, industrial, tourism, business and education sectors.
“It is a domino effect. To spur one sector depends heavily on the town’s development and we will do our best once the town has the support of the Federal Government.
“We merely need the mandate of the people. Otherwise, it would be tough to implement bigger plans here,” he said.
Heng said Gopeng MCA has outlined several plans to develop the constituency and to help the people there.
“One of our agenda items is to help the existing farmers without land titles get land so they can be legalised. We will try to gazette the land they have been working so hard on,” she said.
“We will also help those willing to work find jobs so they can eke out a living,” she added.
Other plans, Heng said, include helping the needy find affordable homes and also turning Gopeng town into a nature- and heritage-themed suburban tourist destination.
“We have already kickstarted plans for tourism, having invited Hunan TV from China to film travel programmes featuring Gopeng last year. It is expected to be aired soon,” she said.
Heng said she will also organise programmes and initiatives to keep the environment clean.
“Gopeng is categorised as a black spot for dengue. We want to make sure the constituency is clean for people to live in,” she added.
Dr Lee said there were many recurrent and chronic problems that he was currently working on to resolve.
He said that he runs three service centres in the constituency, which opens daily except on Sundays and public holidays, and his team had attended to more than 24,000 cases of complaints since we was elected.
If given the chance to defend his seat, he said that he had ideas to redevelop Gopeng.
“A total revamp of how the state and local council function is needed and it is a tough to resolve these issues,” said the cardiologist, who added that he travelled to Teja at least once a week.
“My team will continue to serve Gopeng no matter what happens,” said Dr Lee.
‘We’d like to see some development’