KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 28 — Wong Tack, the incumbent Bentong MP who was not named as a candidate by DAP for this election, said today that grassroots members are standing behind him on nomination for GE15.
In a statement, he said that the grassroots, especially Bentong DAP members, have reacted negatively following news he would not be contesting in Pahang.
"They find the party’s decision illogical. The team has worked hard over the years to serve the people,” he said in a statement here.
Wong, an environmental activist made famous over the rare earth plant Lynas, said the people of Bentong have faced so many challenges over the years, especially the movement control order (MCO), the big Karak fire and devastating floods.
"We have hit the ground running to help the people regardless of race, religion and political backgrounds the best we could. I believe many locals can attest to this,” he said.
Wong added that DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke only met him on October 23 before informing him a week later that he would not be contesting Bentong, but in Cameron Highlands instead.
He said he has held a meeting with Bentong DAP members and decided to reject the proposal.
"I do not belong to any faction within the party. I am not interested and have never played party politics,” he said.
Yesterday, Loke cited a Merdeka Centre survey that DAP commissioned on Bentong found Wong lacked popular support.
The DAP leader told Malaysiakini in an interview that Wong had an overall approval rating of 30 per cent with constituents polled, which only rose to 38 per cent if solely considering Chinese voters.
Wong’s approval plunged to 19 per cent among Malay voters, but was high — 61 per cent — among Indians.
Loke announced Ketari assemblyman Young Syefura Othman, or Rara, as the party’s candidate for Bentong as she proved to be more popular in the same survey.
Ketari is a state constituency within Bentong.
After Loke’s announcement, Wong said he could run as an independent to defend the seat he first won in 2013 on DAP’s ticket.
Loke also warned that Wong would lose party membership should he run against the party in GE15.