JERANTUT: Barisan Nasional’s candidate for Damak, Datuk Natalie Lim Chong Ly, will have her work cut out for her to secure a better mandate in Pahang’s most critical state seat.
But the native of Jerantut, under which Damak is located, is unfazed by the challenge.
“I am a daughter of Jerantut. I will surely take care of my hometown.
“I am also close to the community here due to the many positions I hold in local organisations. This will help my chances of getting a stronger mandate for Barisan,” the Pahang MCA vice-treasurer said in an interview.
Among the many hats she wears are Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia’s women’s division deputy chairman, Jerantut Chinese Chamber of Commerce chairman, Jerantut District Council member and Pahang Amateur Basketball Association chairman.
The 39-year-old entrepreneur, who is making her debut after Damak incumbent Datuk Lau Lee was dropped from the Barisan line-up, will be facing PKR’s Wong Chun Yuan and PAS’ Zuridan Md Daud in the constituency of 25,164 voters.
In the 2013 general election, Lau, from MCA, defended the seat for Barisan by a razor-thin margin of 64 votes, narrowly edging out independent candidate Koh Boon Heng in a four-cornered match.
Lau’s victory was only possible due to the split votes among Koh, PKR’s Jamaluddin Abd Rahim and another independent candidate, Mohd Nor Jaafar.
Lim said there was a huge swing of support for Koh brought on by the “Chinese tsunami” at that time.
“I do not see that sentiment this time around. MCA has worked hard these past five years and I intend to carry on Lau’s legacy while taking new approaches,” she added.
Lim, who is involved in running a resort and sawmilling business, plans to bring in modern agricultural techniques and technology to revitalise the sector in Jerantut.
“Young people are gradually moving away from Jerantut. I would like to provide more viable opportunities for them to make a living here so they can see a reason to return.
“I aim to modernise oil palm and rubber planting, as well as fruit and vegetable farming.
“I will also request more agricultural land from the state government for youths who are interested in this field,” she said.
Lim, a single mother of three boys, also said she would use her experience in running a resort to boost tourism in the constituency.
“Jerantut has many attractions, but tourists from China generally go to Bentong and Raub due to the intense promotion there.
“We have eco-tourism and durians here too. I want to promote a full package for tourists to experience the local taste,” she said.
Also on her agenda are solving the water supply problem in Batu Balai and helping single mothers achieve financial independence.
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