Plugging water woes tops list

NIBONG TEBAL: Fixing years of water supply problems tops the list of priorities for Abidin Ismail, who has been chosen to defend Perikatan Nasional’s hold on the Sungai Bakap constituency in the upcoming by-election.

Growing up in Kampung Sungai Duri near the border of Penang and Kedah, the 56-year-old is all too familiar with household taps slowing to a trickle and even running dry during peak usage hours.

“God willing, if elected, I will continue the legacy of Abang Zam,” he said, referring to the late Sungai Bakap assemblyman Nor Zamri Latiff.

“Abang Zam brought up the water problem so many times at the state assembly.

“Good, clean water supply is a fundamental right for the people of Sungai Bakap,” Abidin said.

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Long-standing water problems in this constituency is due to the fact that 80% of Penang’s water supply comes from Sungai Muda in northern Seberang Perai.

Meanwhile, Sungai Bakap is at the southern edge of Penang, near the border with Perak.

During peak usage hours, most of the water goes to other parts of the state closer to Sungai Muda, leading to a significant drop in water pressure for Sungai Bakap.

Abidin was Nor Zamri’s special officer before the latter died on May 24.

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Previously a logistics executive in a transport company for 30 years, Abidin left the position to serve as Nor Zamri’s special officer in 2022.

He has been deeply engaged in social activism in Sungai Bakap since 2012, serving in various positions in the area’s community and mosque organisations.

Abidin’s political career kicked off when he became the secretary of the Sungai Duri PAS branch in 2005, a post he held until 2015.

He is now the party’s Nibong Tebal division vice-chairman.

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Abidin is set to face former educator Dr Joohari Ariffin, 60, a PKR member who will represent the unity government in the July 6 by-election.

Based on Election Commission records from the last state election, the Sungai Bakap constituency has 38,409 voters.

Malays make up the majority of voters at 59.36%, followed by Chinese (22.54%), Indians (17.39%) and others (0.71%).

The late Nor Zamri secured 15,433 votes in the August 2023 state election, defeating Pakatan Harapan’s Nurhidayah Che Rose, who is Penang PKR women’s chief.

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