Pengkalan Batu incumbent Norhizam Baktee confident of retaining seat without DAP this time, says ‘proven’ himself

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Datuk Norhizam Hassan Baktee speaks during a press conference in Melaka October 7, 2021. — Bernama pic
Datuk Norhizam Hassan Baktee speaks during a press conference in Melaka October 7, 2021. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 14 — Datuk Norhizam Hassan Baktee who won Pengkalan Batu on a DAP ticket in 2018 believes he will win back the same seat this coming Saturday when Melaka goes to the polls.

Now an independent, the former assemblyman told news portal Free Malaysia Today in an interview published today that Pengkalan Batu voters “never had an elected representative like me”.

“If I am told today that someone needs a wheelchair, by evening we would have given it. If today they say they need a mattress, by tomorrow we would have given them a mattress. If today they need to repair their roof, in three days’ time we would have appointed a contractor and fixed their roof. And it’s not just a few people. In Pengkalan Batu alone, we have repaired the roofs of more than 100,000 people.

“All this while, they’ve never had an elected representative like me. Thank God, after I became the assemblyman and executive councillor, I did all this,” he was quoted as saying.

Norhizam won the seat in Election 2018 and declared himself an independent assemblyman in support of Umno in March last year, which led to the formation of the Perikatan Nasional state government.

However, he and three other assemblymen subsequently retracted support for Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali as chief minister, causing the collapse of the Umno-led state government and the snap election.

This time around, Norhizam is up against DAP’s 25-year-old Muhammad Danish Zainudin.

In the interview, Norhizam boasted that his chances of winning Pengkalan Batu again are bright as he has a proven track record compared to the fresh-faced DAP candidate.

“But Datuk Norhizam has already served the people. I have already done the work, I am proven. They say they want to serve, but Datuk Norhizam has already served the people of Pengkalan Batu,” he told the news portal.

He shrugged off the labels of “traitor” and “frog” for leaving DAP and being a contributor to the state election.

He explained that his departure from the party was only after the then Pakatan Harapan government had collapsed, which he said was the result of the resignations of its three Melaka state executive councillors: Datuk Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen, Datuk Muhammad Jailani Khamis and Noor Effandi Ahmad.

Norhizam also pointed out that contrary to the “frog” epithet he was given, he has not joined any political party after DAP as he wanted to serve his constituents better, even though it is hard to do so without the allocations a government assemblyman would normally receive.

“I was not the cause of the state government’s fall. I went to the other side because I wanted my voters to be comfortable.

“We could continue having our community service centre and slightly bigger allocations. Thankfully, we could continue serving the people of Pengkalan Batu.

“But I was independent, and until now I remain independent,” he told Free Malaysia Today.

Norhizam said he held no personal grudge against the DAP and had not badmouthed the party even after leaving it.

“No, I had no issues [with the DAP]. I don’t like talking about politics. After I left the DAP, I didn’t talk about politics. Did you see any [statements]? There was none.

“But since some people have been pestering me to this day, now is the time for me to respond and explain to the community at large. How can I help the people of Pengkalan Batu if I was in the Opposition?”

“I’ve been arrested, locked up, detained for seven days and brought to court for fighting for DAP.

“Why should I regret? Today, if I were to contest on a DAP ticket, I think I might lose. The general population is angry with Lim Guan Eng. Why? Ask Lim what he did when he was the finance minister,” Norhizam was quoted as saying.

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