The Star, Wednesday April 24, 2013
By LIM CHIA YING
BARISAN Nasional candidate Datuk Yap Pian Hon is banking on his close bond with the people and good work record to wrest the Serdang parliamentary seat.
“One reason I am nominated as a candidate is because I belong here; I’m one of you,” he told a crowd who attended a 1Malaysia lunch gathering hosted at the SJK (C) Serdang Baru 1 hall.
“Many years ago, there was not much infrastructure and development in Serdang but it has since become one of the fastest developing constituencies in the country.
“It makes Serdang residents proud, and people from outstation are moving here. I think the development speaks for itself, which can only be attributed to MCA and Barisan.”
He also criticised Pakatan Rakyat representatives on their performances, telling those present that they could “see for themselves” what had been done in terms of problem-solving and betterment for the constituents.
Flanking him was Seri Kembangan Barisan candidate Chin Toong Kang, who said the people needed to vote for Yap so that Serdang would continue to prosper, and he could continue to lead the New Village development.
“There were many things that Yap did during his time,” he said.
At 70, Yap isn’t thinking about retirement anytime soon — in fact, he doesn’t think the word retirement really exists for politicans.
“Until and unless your mind can no longer function properly or your body has become physically frail, a politician will always want to remain in politics,” said Yap, who is making his return as a candidate for the Serdang parliamentary seat.
“I consider myself to be fairly fit, and can walk up numerous flights of stairs without losing my breath. Also, I have peace of mind to continue serving the people and be actively engaged in politics because all my children are grown up.
“If I don’t (serve), what else am I to do? There’s nothing like an idle mind to make one miserable.”
Yap has been nicknamed by political observers as the “politician with nine lives” because of his ability to remain in mainstream MCA politics until now.
His comeback now is even more evident since he was not fielded in the 2008 general election.
DAP’s Teo Nie Ching had won the seat in 2008, beating Barisan candidate Datuk Hoh Hee Lee.
What many may not know is that Yap started out his political career with DAP more than 40 years ago — it was 1969 when he won his first state seat. He was 26 then, his first foray into politics.
In 1974, he quit the party over alleged differences with the leadership and joined the MCA.
That same year, a general election was called, where Yap faced one of his biggest political tests standing as a candidate under the MCA ticket.
He was re-elected as the assemblyman for the constituency, beating DAP’s Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.
Since then, he has gone on to be assemblyman for three terms — 1982, 1986 and 1990, and later as Serdang MP for another three terms.
“My service centre has remained open to serve the people, especially with welfare for single mothers, the disabled and the underprivileged.
“So far, I have helped 520 individuals here in Serdang to get monetary assistance from the Social Welfare Department.
“I have always believed that we should never stop helping people even if we lose in the election or is not picked as a candidate. Service must not be neglected.”
He considers the current political landscape a challenging one, but said he is up for the job with the endorsement from Barisan.
“My aims are to improve the social economic development in Serdang, to find solutions to the perennial traffic congestion and to improve the quality of life and the environment.
“Right now, the infrastructure in Serdang is already quite good, so it is the other aspects that need to be looked into. I am ready for the battle,” he said.
His opponent, DAP hopeful Ong Kian Ming also made a morning market visit on Sunday to Pasar Rakyat in Jalan SK6/1 in Seri Kembangan.
A newbie to elections and the area he is contesting in, Ong went around introducing himself to the traders, shaking hands and greeting them in Mandarin as well as a smattering of Hakka he had just picked up.