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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Oct 26: Kho Teck Wan, speculated to be a potential candidate for Bandar Kuching parliamentary seat in the 15th General Election (GE15), is akin to a “chili padi” – petite but can pack a punch as she says she is ready to “bang on tables” in Parliament if nominated and chosen by voters.
Kho, the Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Women’s chief, said nothing should be taken for granted or lightly because she is aware that Bandar Kuching is the hardest of all parliamentary seats in Sarawak to wrest back, after being under the Opposition for 18 long years.
Asked for her thoughts on the outlook for Bandar Kuching, Kho admitted it would still be an uphill battle and they would need to step up their game.
“I think the sentiment has changed significantly and positively. We can see improvement and have gained more support compared to 2018. I think people realise that Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) has been working hard in the interest of Sarawak. But there is no sure win or sure lose scenario.
“If I am the chosen one, I have to give my absolute best. We have to give our all and nothing short of our best because not everyone will have the privilege to stand (in an election),” she told DayakDaily when contacted today.
If nominated, this will be the second time that Kho attempts to enter Parliament. She was first fielded in the 2018 general election for the then Barisan Nasional (BN-SUPP) Sarawak coalition, also in Bandar Kuching seat. However, she failed to wrest the prized Bandar Kuching seat from Democratic Action Party’s (DAP) Dr Kelvin Yii in a straight fight.
Kho, with a professional background in Information Technology, said she has always been grateful for the opportunity in 2018 because it allowed her to show SUPP women members that they have the power and can rise to the occasion even in the most difficult circumstances.
“They can count on us to take on the heavy burden and wrest back the hardest to win seat in Sarawak. We will go with the party all the way and even when I lose, I can accept the defeat with my head held high because we have given our best and most importantly, we will keep going,” she said.
Armed with experience in 2018, Kho is ready if nominated, and among the immediate issues that she wants addressed within Bandar Kuching constituency are the “koyok” Federal road conditions and relieving the daily traffic congestion the city is currently experiencing.
“Jalan Wan Alwi, Jalan Tun Razak, Jalan Canna are some of the Federal roads but as you can see and experience, these roads are in poor condition for the past five years with only road patching works done like ‘koyok’ (colloquially known as medicated plaster).
“I think it is time we go to (Parliament) to bang on the table. Kuching city is the capital of Sarawak but the Federal roads are full of ‘koyoks’,” she said.
Furthermore, Kho added that traffic congestions is also increasing and has become almost unbearable because unlike 10 years ago, there are more vehicles and drivers than ever before.
“As such, we need to demand answers on the future planning or if there will be any upgrades for these Federal roads, or if there are other solutions to overcome or at least reduce the issues because we can only expect Kuching city to continue to grow,” she emphasised.
Kho pointed out that there is a serious and urgent need to implement flood mitigation measures in an era of evolving flood risk, noting flood prone areas which include Sungai Maong, Setia Raja, Foochow Road and even certain parts of Batu Lintang.
“I’m afraid it will be too late when we decide to take action because we cannot predict exactly when the disruptive weather events will happen. While there is the Greater Kuching Flood Mitigation Project under the Federal government, the problem is someone must go and push hard and follow up on its implementation and execution,” she added.
Apart from these, youth empowerment, women and senior citizen matters are also close to Kho’s heart. She wants to increase youth participation and involvement in Kuching’s development because they are the engine of growth as well as to ensure the quality of life, well-being and wellness of people.
“They have new and great ideas, are innovative, creative and skillful but they don’t have a channel. So we need to pull all the young and talented people together to explore all the options and ideas to create a better Kuching,” she added. — DayakDaily