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Pedalling into voters’ hearts

06 Aug 2020 / 13:30 H.

KANGAR: Long before Gan Ay Ling (pix) was born, politicians pedalled across towns and districts to canvass for votes.

The bicycle was a cheap mode of transport and could easily traverse all sorts of terrain, making it easy for them to reach voters.

But with motorised vehicles gaining popularity, the manual two-wheeler has found new followers among fitness aficionados.

Gan is now revisiting history with her preference for cycling over driving whenever she makes her weekly visits to her constituents.

In the process, the Indera Kayangan representative in the Perlis state assembly has also helped to promote a healthy lifestyle among her supporters.

“It is much easier to cycle than drive,” she told theSun recently.

“Traffic in most parts of Perlis is usually quite light, so the risks are considerably low.”

Furthermore, Perlis is a very small state, just about as big as the neighbouring Kubang Pasu district in Kedah.

Gan served in the Penang Island City Council until 2018 when she was picked by PKR to contest in Indera Kayangan.

She won the seat as Pakatan Harapan (PH) swept into power at the federal level on the back of resentment for Barisan Nasional (BN), then the coalition in power.

However, Perlis remained in BN hands, and as an opposition member, she had little resources to help her constituents make a better life for themselves.

“I had to start from scratch.” The situation took a turn for the worse when the PH government fell as a result of crossovers just under two years after its historic win.

Despite the disappointments, the petite Gan became even more determined to make a mark in the state.

She is doing so now with her down-to-earth approach, dispensing with fancy cars for the working man’s bicycle.

She has joined two local recreational cycling clubs to map out the best terrain for pedalling across the entire state. Such trips also provide her the opportunity to make stops along the way to catch up with her constituents.

On weekends, most club members ride through three districts – Padang Besar, Kangar and Arau.

Gan posts her exploits on social media, helping to raise her own profile in the process.

It has also enabled her to make new friends.

Perlis has also become the first state to offer all-terrain recreational cycling tour packages.

Gan is determined to make full use of the state’s strategic location as a gateway to Langkawi and southern Thailand.

“We want it to be the place where visitors make a stopover on their way to these destinations.

“We have to make the best of our resources and cycling is also a good form of exercise,” she added.

Read this story in theSun’s iPaper:

Pedalling into voters’ hearts

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