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Cost of living front and centre for Simpang Jeram voters

They say more and more people have been complaining about the rising cost of goods.

Ahmad Mustakim Zulkifli
2 minute read
The flags of Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan Nasional flutter in the breeze ahead of the by-election in Sempang Jeram, Johor, on Sept 9.
The flags of Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan Nasional flutter in the breeze ahead of the by-election in Sempang Jeram, Johor, on Sept 9.

Cost of living concerns continue to dominate the northern constituency of Simpang Jeram in Johor, a day before the by-election to fill the vacancy in the state legislative assembly.

Bottled water dealer Muhd Zaki Abd Ghani said purchasing power remained the main problem for his increasingly shaky business.

"The cost of goods has gone up a lot," he said when met by MalaysiaNow.

"As a businessman, I have been affected as well. The other issues, for me, are all okay."

Zaki, who has run his business for several years, also voiced hope that the individual elected to represent the people would give support to floundering trades.

Three candidates have been battling for support ahead of the Sept 9 by-election: Dr Mazri Yahya of Perikatan Nasional (PN), Pakatan Harapan's Nazri Abdul Rahman, and independent S Jeganathan.

The seat fell vacant with the death of its incumbent, Salahudin Ayub, who was also the domestic trade and cost of living minister.

Salahudin won the seat at the last state election with a total of 8,749 votes, beating PN's Zarul Salleh (6,350) and Lokman Md Don of Barisan Nasional (6,062).

Muhammad Amir Ihsan, a religious leader in Taman Sri Bakri 3, said more and more people had been complaining about the price of goods.

Muhammad Amir Ihsan.
Muhammad Amir Ihsan.

"Today, they said that rice would increase to RM30 a bag," he said.

"The income of the villagers here has also been affected. So I hope that the assemblyman will fight for the welfare of the people in the state assembly."

Amir also said that the roads in the area were in bad shape despite pleas for repairs made two years ago.

Ammar Bakhtiar Aminudin, a student at UiTM Jasin, said more facilities were needed for leisure activities.

Ammar Bakhtiar Aminudin.
Ammar Bakhtiar Aminudin.

"The issues in Simpang Jeram and Muar are more localised, like the lack of facilities for evening activities," he said.

"The youth have nowhere to spend their free time."

Ammar also voiced hope that the competing parties would campaign in a mature manner without putting down their opponents.

He added that racial sentiments should not be played up.

Baharudin Mohamed, an entrepreneur who operates a furniture warehouse, said community issues mattered more to the people than national matters.

"Even earning a living depends on the community. If we die, it is the community that takes care of things.

"Don't be a representative only on posters. Whoever wins needs to pay attention to the people's troubles," he said.   

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