GE15: Speculation rife DAP replacing Santiago for Klang parliamentary seat

GE15: Speculation rife DAP replacing Santiago for Klang parliamentary seat

KLANG: A furore is steadily rising in Klang over recent talk that the DAP will be replacing the royal town’s incumbent MP Charles Santiago with another candidate from the party.

Various organisations were against the DAP’s alleged move to field someone else in the Klang parliamentary seat which Santiago had held for three terms.

There was widespread talk that the party wanted to replace Santiago with Seri Kembangan assemblyman Ean Yong Hian Wah.

Allegations that Ean Yong had underperformed as an elected representative and were looking at riding on Santiago’s hard work in Klang were also being unfairly hurled at the Seri Kembangan assemblyman.

Klang Hokkien Association president Datuk Goh Ah Lek said his organisation was very close with Santiago and did not want him replaced.

“He has been here for three terms, knows the place well and is familiar with what to do to help organisations and residents in Klang.

“He is also very hard working and productive, why yank him out and throw things into disarray?” asked Goh.

He added although Ean Yong was also his friend, he had told him to stay put in Seri Kembangan, and not come to Klang.

“The last I saw Ean Yong was at an event on Aug 31 and I jokingly told him to remain in Seri Kembangan and not contest in Klang,” said Goh.

A source familiar with Ean Yong, said the three-term assemblyman had been involved in Klang way before Pakatan Harapan existed.

“He and Lim Lip Eng (Kepong MP) used to be in Klang all the time and had addressed the various issues faced by the people here.

“So, this is not unfamiliar ground for Ean Yong,” said the Klang resident.

He added that there would be no harm in giving Ean Yong a chance to become Klang MP.

Having been a social activist for decades before venturing into politics, Santiago’s hands on approach minus political shenanigans were a big hit with Klang residents, which saw his majority increase over the three terms he had contested and won the seat.

In the 2008 polls, Santiago won with a 17,701 majority, followed by a 24,685 majority in 2013 and a gargantuan majority of 78,773 in the 2018 general election.

Entrepreneurs Association of Little India Klang president Charles Manickam said various development plans had been discussed with Santiago and replacing him would mean beginning everything from scratch again.

He added the business community in Klang found it easier to get along with Santiago compared with some other elected representatives, due to his simple and down to earth demeanour.

“We don’t want anyone else to come in and rock the boat,” said Manickam, who had led some 15 Indian-based organisations on Monday (Oct 17) to protest against replacing Santiago.

He added Santiago’s ingenuity had led to various projects in the Klang region, following the wrath of the Covid-19 pandemic, which had helped boost the economy of the town’s working-class population.

Kampung Pendamar headman Mohd Nasri Omar said people in the Klang villages were very familiar with Santiago who was always there for them to help out with various problems and issues.

He said good communication skills were crucial when dealing with villagers, adding that Santiago had been able to listen to their voices and delivered what was expected of him for the almost 15 years he has been in office.

Besides Ean Yong, there was also talk along the local grapevine that Kota Kemuning assemblyman V. Ganabathirau was eyeing the Klang parliamentary seat.

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