PORT DICKSON, Nov 15 — Former deputy education minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan who is contesting for the Port Dickson parliamentary seat in the 15th general election (GE15) said there is a need for higher education institutions in Port Dickson.
He said that these higher education institutions would be able to supplement the two major industries in the constituency — petroleum and gas, and tourism.
“This is part of my manifesto that is to introduce petroleum and gas, and tourism — two major industries.
“If I can get an institution to come here, the students can get an education here and work here.
“That would probably be one way of strengthening the education system here. I know what are the requirements needed to set up education institutions here, and I’m going to work very hard to try to make that happen,” he said during an interview with Malay Mail here at the Umno headquarters.
At the same time, Kamalanathan promised to look into development in Port Dickson should he be elected as the next MP of the constituency.
“Port Dickson has been left behind. You can ask anybody here if they’ve seen development here, and very rarely you get people here saying yes.
“There is a need for major development since in the last 15 years, nothing has been done to upgrade Port Dickson or to get more people to come here,” he said.
He added that there should be a nationwide campaign to reintroduce Port Dickson as part of a tourist-must-go destination where it says, “your visit to Malaysia isn’t complete without a visit to Port Dickson” .
Despite his proposed big plans, there are voices on the ground questioning Kamalanathan’s non-native origins, casting doubt over his sincerity for the constituency.
“Yes, I’m not from here, so was Kamarul Bahrin (Datuk Kamarul Bahrin Abbas) who was two terms MP, so was Danyal (Danyal Balagopal Abdullah) and Anwar Ibrahim (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim) ... they were also not from here.
“But they were still voted in, four MPs, none of them were from here ... why suddenly when it comes to Kamalanathan, ‘he’s not from here’?
“I mean can you accept it and say it as a point, you cannot, because you have voted for four MPs who were not from here.
“Yes, I’m not from here, but I am here to bring development, I am here to inspire each and every student here to continue their education, I’m here to work together and walk with them for a better life in Port Dickson. That is something I can guarantee,” he said.
He added that the question of him not being a native of Port Dickson should not be highlighted.
“It’s very shameful because indirectly you are saying that you have made a mistake the last four terms, isn’t it?
“I’m a party man, this is a battle, and as a party man I will follow where the general decides I should go,” he said.
Kamalanathan will contest against Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Aminuddin Harun, who took over from incumbent MP Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who will instead contest in Tambun against former Perak mentri besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu.
The Port Dickson seat went through a by-election in 2018 where its then-incumbent stepped down to give way to Anwar who was returning to the political arena.
For GE15, Port Dickson will see a five-cornered contest that will include Rafiei Mustapha from Perikatan Nasional, independent candidate Rani Kulup and Gerakan Tanah Air’s Ahmad Idham Ahmad Nadzri.