When PKR came a-calling for indie candidate Ananda


Ananda AK claims to be the “real” local in the Padang Serai election, being born and bred there.
KULIM: Independent candidate Ananda AK had a near Prabakaran moment when the Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidate in the Padang Serai parliamentary election died on Nov 16, just three days before polling day.
PKR called him, asking him to stand in for PH should the election be held as scheduled.
It was a moment reminiscent of the 2018 general election (GE14), when the PH candidate Tian Chua’s nomination for the Batu parliamentary seat was rejected and PKR adopted independent candidate P Prabakaran as its flag-bearer.
Prabakaran won and eventually became a PKR member, and was re-elected in the recent general election (GE15).

But Ananda’s Prabakaran moment was not to be.
A new parliamentary election was called for Padang Serai on Dec 7, allowing PH to nominate a new candidate to replace the late M Karupaiya, and further open the race to other contenders.
Ananda remained one of six candidates for Padang Serai, contesting on the prancing horse symbol.
“Before the election was postponed, the PH camp was ready to assume me as their candidate, for my campaign goals and ideas were a match. But regardless, my fight for Padang Serai has not ended and I’m not calling it quits,” he told FMT.

Ananda, 38, a project specialist at an international firm, said he was the only local candidate on the ballot as the other candidates are not from Padang Serai, but were instead “parachuted” from other places.
Ananda AK visiting a family friend at his hometown village of Sg Kob in Karangan during the Padang Serai campaign.
He said he knew what hardship was, being born and bred at a rubber estate in Sungai Kob. He tapped rubber with his parents to help put food on the table from the age of five to 23, when he was in university.
Today, the 38-year-old father of three has a master’s degree in plantation management and a bachelor’s in software engineering. Since 2016, he has been giving back to the Padang Serai youth by coaching poor students to prepare them for tertiary studies.
“I’ve trained over 1,000 students. I basically gauge their talent and give them leadership skills and help them decide what to study based on their interests. I also help them apply to government universities.
“I’m a firm believer that local universities can provide good, affordable education,” he said.
Ananda said if elected, he would use his skills as a project professional to resolve bread and butter issues in Padang Serai, including setting up a one-stop centre to help constituents, provide access to affordable housing, and start centres to upskill and reskill workers.
“We need to grow like neighbouring Bukit Mertajam and Alma. Padang Serai has also been left behind compared with the development seen in neighbouring Seberang Perai,” he said.
When asked about his opponents, he said while the Perikatan Nasional (PN) wave had taken the nation by shock, he was confident its candidate Azman Nasruddin would not make headway, being a “frog” – a PKR defector to Bersatu.
“Voters here are mature. Azman is the final ‘katak’ to be pushed out. PH’s Sofee Razak is too fresh and is not a familiar face. Bottom line is, we need to weed out the extremist wave that has beset us,” he said.
The fight in Padang Serai appears to have been whittled to one that is between PH and PN, with both Warisan and Barisan Nasional having withdrawn from the contest. Ananda and Pejuang candidate Hamzah Rahman are the underdogs in the race.

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