MELAKA – “They have merely sown seeds of promises, I have shown devotion for a long time”, is the motto held by the Independent candidate for the Pengkalan Batu state seat, Datuk Norhizam Hassan Baktee (picture), who is also the incumbent of the constituency.
According to Norhizam, he has solved many problems for the locals over the past three years.
“I may be a bit blunt, but be it a (problem as small as a) drain problem or even the largest of problems, God willing, I will solve it.
“I don’t have an IR (engineering qualification), but I have a ‘JR’ (Jiwa Rakyat or Heart for the People), that we need to have as an elected representative, God willing, the people will evaluate it. If I’m given the mandate, I will continue to work as an elected representative to help the people solve various problems,” he said when met by Bernama at Pantai Peringgit here.
Known by the nickname ‘YB Viral’, the 56-year-old native of Pengkalan Batu said if he was re-elected, among his main priorities would be to solve the drainage problem which caused floods, as well as to help young people who lost their jobs due to COVID-19.
Unperturbed by his four other rivals, Norhizam who is using the key logo in the polls this time said he was confident that he would make history by defending the Pengkalan Batu seat as an Independent candidate, stressing that the perception that Independent elected representatives could not work for their constituencies needed to be dispelled.
However, he did not rule out the possibility of supporting certain coalitions to form the state government in order to continue to provide the best service to the constituents.
“I can’t think for myself in this matter, I will look at the offer given to me, and of course it will be conditional. No matter which coalition it is, my condition will be for them not to repeat old behaviour,” he said.
Touching on the allegations hurled at him such as being a ‘traitor’ or a ‘frog’, Norhizam condemned such statements, stating that he had chosen his stance because he did not wish to see the state government continue to commit ‘malfeasance’.
“I want to correct the sentiments against me, I am not a traitor, not a frog, but I am a savior, if I and the three others (state assemblyman) did not do so, then we will continue to see malpractices in the government,” he said referring to the incident in early October where he and three other state assemblymen withdrew their support for the then chief minister, which eventually paved the way for the state election.
Looking at his Facebook page ‘Aku YB Ke Kau YB?’, Norhizam said apart from recording and sharing all the work carried out in his constituency, he also used it as a channel for him to take note of all complaints from the community, in addition to meeting them in person.
He said his approach in the state assembly may seem ‘rough’, but it was part of his nature, and that it was important for him to voice out the people’s concerns.
“I’m not acting, that is my real self. In the assembly, I do put up a fight, but outside, I am a friend, I am more comfortable and soft, even a ‘makcik’ (aunt) can cry with me. As far as possible, I don’t want to put a ‘border’ between myself and the community, I want to remain an approachable elected representative,” he said.
Norhizam, who once held the Melaka State DAP deputy chairman’s post, ‘captured’ the Pengkalan Batu seat under Pakatan Harapan (PH) in the 14th General Election (GE14) with a majority of 2,756 and was appointed as a state executive councilor in charge of agriculture, livestock, and entrepreneur development.
He then left DAP and supported the Barisan Nasional (BN) government which took over from the PH government in Melaka in March 2020, and retained his portfolio as an Independent.
However, in early October, Norhizam and three other state assemblymen withdrew their support for former chief minister Datuk Sulaiman Md Ali, paving the way for the state polls to be held on Nov 20.
Norhizam faces four other candidates in a five-cornered fight with Muhamad Danish Zainudin (PH), Mohd Azrudin Md Idris (PN), Dr Mohd Aluwi Sari (Putra) and Datuk Kalsom Nordin (BN).