Monday, December 6, 2021

PAS takes on Umno in BN stronghold of Serkam

The state seat has been held by BN's Zaidi Attan for two terms but change might come at the election this week.

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At Pantai Siring in Serkam, Melaka, the situation is quiet and calm.

A handful of locals and visitors splash about in the water with their families while others sit at stalls along the beach, enjoying a drink and taking in the ocean view.

Further out to sea, though, the fishermen of Serkam are struggling with several problems.

At the Serkam jetty, they are asking that the estuary which is too shallow be made deeper. The rough roofs put up as shelter at the docks have also been damaged by wild monkeys.

Meanwhile, complaints have been made over the intrusion of large vessels into their fishing zone.

These are among the issues awaiting the candidate who succeeds in attracting the most votes in Serkam come election day on Nov 20.

Serkam has traditionally been seen as an Umno-Barisan Nasional (BN) stronghold.

It was held by Zaidi Attan, who will defend his seat in a four-way fight with Muhammad Khomeini Kamal (Pakatan Harapan), Ahmad Bilal Rahudin (Perikatan Nasional) and Norazlanshah Hazali (independent)

Zaidi, a BN candidate, has held the seat since 2013 but the winds of change may be coming this week.

A fisherman who identified himself as Rahim Abdullah said representatives need to meet with the people and hear their troubles for themselves.

“But Zaidi, he doesn’t. He only comes to eat and he doesn’t ask about our problems,” he said when met by MalaysiaNow.

He said many have complained about the services of the BN assemblyman, saying he rarely goes down to the field and only instructs officers as his representatives.

Zaidi obtained 6,401 votes in the 2018 general election, defeating PKR’s Nor Khairi and Ahmad Bilal from PAS.

Bilal, a local who is also Melaka PN Youth chief, is contesting the seat for the second time.

He acknowledges that he is less popular than Zaidi but said this was not the only trick up his sleeve.

If he is voted in, he said, he will concentrate on solving the problem of flash floods and the shallow estuary.

“After GE14, I still went to the ground to see the people, especially during the pandemic,” he told MalaysiaNow.

“We gave out a lot of assistance and donations. In terms of welfare, I have been working with the people for a long time.”

Bilal, who is contesting under PN, expects the Malay vote to swing towards the coalition.

PAS deputy president Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah is more cautious. He said the party acknowledges that it will be difficult to win all eight seats which it is contesting, and that PAS might end up winning fewer than six seats.

Bilal however said he would do his best.

“We are still working,” he said. “We have a chance in Serkam.”

Rahim and his fellow fishermen meanwhile have been waiting many years for change.

At the very least, if there is a change in leadership, they hope their troubles will be addressed.

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