DAP rookie aims to fill Ngeh’s shoes in Sitiawan

Loghun Kumaran
Teoh (right) will be contesting the Astaka (formerly Sitiawan) state seat in GE14. — Picture by Marcus Pheong

IPOH, April 24 — DAP’s rookie candidate Teoh Yee Chern’s first ever political contest will be heavy with the weight of expectation.

The 28-year-old lawyer, who will be contesting the Astaka (formerly Sitiawan) state seat in GE14, has the responsibility of defending a seat that the party has never lost in its 53-years history.

In addition to that, Teoh also has to fill the shoes of one of Perak DAP’s most well-known politicians, state DAP advisor Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham — not an easy task for any first-time candidate.

But despite the pressure, the hometown boy is confident of retaining a seat that was held by Ngeh for three terms.

“I’m a bit nervous, and I do feel some pressure because we have never lost this seat,” Teoh told Malay Mail recently.  

“But I have plans to help the people of Astaka and I will try my absolute best. Ngeh has also been guiding me throughout the process so I am confident.”

Besides guiding Teoh through his first campaign, Ngeh was also Teoh’s master during his stint as a pupil.

Teoh said he realises that he will have to work hard to build the same trust and support that Ngeh enjoyed over the three terms.

If elected, Teoh plans to improve the area’s infrastructure, focusing on public transport and town planning.

He said elderly residents in Astaka’s five new villages need a better bus service heading to the nearest hospital in Seri Manjun which is over 15km away.

“It’s the first thing I want to do. The existing bus system doesn’t operate regularly enough and some of the senior citizens have to take a taxi, where they are charged up to RM 80,” Teoh said.

He believes the local economy can be boosted with new tourism initiatives and by taking advantage of the strong Foochow culture in the Sitiawan area.

“If we are given the mandate to form a government, I also want to give freehold titles to the residents of all the five new villages in the area.”

After 15 years of having the popular Ngeh as their assemblyman, the fresh-faced hometown boy feels his tender years will not be a disadvantage.

He says people are excited to see a new face and would not mind a young candidate who is capable of answering their questions.

At the same time, Teoh said one of the challenges he has faced was educating the voters on how their representatives could effectively solve their problems.

“Sometimes it’s not easy to solve problems and deal with the relevant authorities because we are the opposition.

“Because of this, some voters feel we can’t help them because we are opposition members. The challenge is educating them on how we can find solutions to improve their lives,” he said.