HARDWARE shop owner Hew Choon Hooi, 55, said there had been no major development in the area.
“I believe many of us want change here in Gopeng. That is our wish. Without change it is only going to become harder to keep people working and living in Gopeng.
“And if the population keeps shrinking, it is hard to do business,” she said, adding that Gopeng became a “ghost town” after 4pm.
Hew said their elected representative must tap into Gopeng’s potential as a tourism destination.
“If there are initiatives to boost tourism here, things could be better for us,” she said.
Grocery shop owner Ng Tong Ken, 68, agreed with Hew, saying that he wanted a candidate dedicated to looking after the people of Gopeng.
“I want to see someone who is always with us. If we can meet at least once or twice a month, it is enough for us here to see the person is genuine about working for us,” he said.
“When residents here have complaints, I want to see this candidate act on it. People here have gradually stopped caring when a problem arise because nothing gets done when it is brought up,” he said.
Ng thinks the biggest problems Gopeng faces is the dwindling number of youths.
“It is only busy here during the day. In the evening, this place looks dead. Many shops, including mine, used to open until as late as 10pm, but we do not feel safe doing this now,” he said.
Ng hopes to see real change in Gopeng, like the construction of a small industrial area or more tourism spots.
Civil servant Zaharudin Md Ali, 56, said Gopeng was a harmonious town that had much room for development and he would look for a representative who had a plan to “ubah nasib” (change fortune) for the constituents here.
“People here are mostly senior citizens, and they may need help with technology, for example, so this candidate should work on providing them solutions,” he said.
“Frequently going down to the ground has no meaning to me unless the person can deliver results,” he said.
Like Hew and Ng, Zaharudin believes tourism can be Gopeng’s primary “rice bowl”.
“With private resorts and the Gaharu plantation here, tourists are visiting Gopeng but there is not enough to make them stay longer.
“We have a wonderful museum and it would be great if the relevant quarters could find ways to develop and upgrade it.
Newspaper vendor R. Divya, 25, would like to see better public cleanliness and improved accessibility to daily neccessities.
“Gopeng isn’t very clean. There is a lot of litter on the streets. Some of the shophouses here are dirty and old too,” she said.
She also said there are no large supermarkets, fas- food outlets or specialty shops in the town, making Gopeng look like it has been left behind.
“For example, you cannot find florists or interior decoration shops here. We have to go to Kampar or Ipoh for those items and services.
Divya said she wants a people-friendly leader who is present to understand the concerns of constituents.
“Dropping by time to time does nothing to change Gopeng,” she said, adding she does not want a representative who only visits the constituency during big occasions.