SEMENYIH: Being branded one of the “underdogs” in the four-cornered Semenyih by-election does not faze Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) candidate Nik Aziz Afiq Abdul (pic).
With an easy smile and calm demeanour, the first-time candidate said it may be to his advantage to be the fresh face in a battle among political giants such as Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional.
The 25-year-old, who owns and runs a reflexology centre, believes his youthfulness would appeal to Semenyih voters.
“PSM felt that it needed to put forward a young candidate because it sees that the youth have not been given enough of a role in politics,” he said.
Acknowledging that Pakatan and Barisan are popular, Nik Aziz said the two coalitions are “burdened with a lot of baggage”.
“When the rakyat see Barisan, they are reminded of the tales of corruption and 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB)
“With Pakatan, there is dissatisfaction. People voted out Barisan, but one by one, former Umno MPs are entering Bersatu,” he said.
Nik Aziz added that PSM has a track record of over 20 years, and has held fast to its principles.
The party is able to provide an alternative voice to voters in Semenyih, he said, and they are targeting voters who are non-partisan and want to remain on the fence.
As for independent candidate Kuan Chee Heng or Uncle Kentang, Nik Aziz noted that most of the social activist’s projects are based in Puchong and not in Semenyih.
Nik Aziz, who has been with PSM for four years, has been assisting the party’s previous Semenyih contender S. Arutchelvan on the ground.
He said one of the cases PSM resolved was over the Dunedin Estate in Semenyih where they worked with the state government to provide evicted plantation workers with free landed property.
PSM had been lobbying for the workers’ rights for over 20 years, and the move finally benefitted 22 families.
He added that the case proved that he would have no issues working with a state government that he is not politically aligned to.
Top of Nik Aziz’s priorities is to reduce the gap between elected representatives and the people, and to instil the mindset that democratic processes do not just take place during elections.
“The rakyat is not involved in making decisions. The elected representative should unite the people and respect them. He is not their master and should work for the people,” he said.