Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh has expressed confidence that the people will continue to vote for her as long as she contests for the parliamentary seat.
Fuziah claimed that the bond she had with the voters in Kuantan went beyond party politics and was at a more personal level than when she first won the seat in 2008.
“I’ve done my rounds. I go to the ground and I can feel that there is a personal relationship between me and the voters now,” she said. “It’s no longer about the party.”
Fuziah claimed the fact that the state seats within Kuantan were split between Barisan Nasional (BN) and the opposition went to show that there was a diversity of political opinions among voters.
“They will vote for me to be in Parliament but at the state level, that’s when party politics still comes into play.”
In the last general election (GE13), PKR’s Sim Chon Siang won the Teruntum state seat, PAS’ Rosli Abdul Jabar won the Tanjung Lumpur state seat, and BN’s Shafik Fauzan Sharif won the Inderapura state seat.
Fuziah has been contesting for the Kuantan seat in every election since 1999 but won her first victory against the ruling coalition in 2008.
In 2008, Fuziah went up against MCA’s Fu Ah Kiow for the second time and managed to win with a slim majority, garnering 52% of the votes. BN, however, had won all three state seats during that election.
In 2004, Fuziah had lost to Fu who had managed to win 63% of the votes. Fu was also the deputy internal security minister.
“At that time, I was unknown but Umno had conditioned the Malays so much that when a Malay was seen fighting against MCA, even the Malays who supported Umno felt they would rather vote for a Malay than a Chinese and that was why I won despite the opposition losing all three state seats.”
In 2013, Umno had decided to “borrow” the seat from MCA to capitalise on the increase in Malay voters but again Fuziah managed to beat the Umno candidate, Mohamed Suffian Awang, with a slightly larger majority of 54% of the votes.
Suffian was Kuantan Umno Youth chief and the political secretary to BN chairman and Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Fuziah claimed this was because she had ensured that after her first victory, she would do all she could to prove to the people that they had made the right choice in electing her as their MP.
“I realised I won not because of the strength of our party; it wasn’t due to that. It was because Umno’s racial rhetorics had backfired.
“So, right from day one, I made it my personal goal to work hard and prove that I could be the voice of the people and to champion their rights and to take their issues to Parliament.
“Within the five years of my first term, they saw how hard I worked for them and I managed to solve more than 6,000 of the cases brought to my attention in my constituency.”
Kuantan is a Malay-majority constituency made up of 78.5% Malays, 17.9% Chinese, 3.3% Indians and 0.3% other races, according to the 2010 population census.
Fuziah was born in Johor in 1959, but grew up in Pahang and had her early education at the Methodist Girls School in Kuantan.-FMT