Naganathan’s Batu bid part of Warisan’s quest to conquer beyond Sabah

Warisan is a Sabah-based party with a logo that has a sailboat as the central image.

Yet, its flags have crossed the South China Sea, lining the streets in Kuala Lumpur and Ampang, among other areas.

Its notable representative contesting in Peninsular Malaysia in the upcoming 15th General Election is former MCA president, Tan Sri Ong Tee Keat. Ong will be battling it out for the Pandan parliamentary seat – a familiar ground for the seasoned politician.

But the party also has several fresh faces – novices who believe they can make a difference.

One of them is Naganathan Pillai, one of the 10 contenders contesting in the Batu parliamentary seat.

Having branded himself as ‘Nathan Batu’, Naganathan is eager to be a public figure but is not ready to reveal much about his family life. The 54-year-old Naganathan has businesses in India and Sri Lanka, with “interests in import and export, laundry equipment, education institutions and a resort in Sabah”.

The businessman, however, is certainly not one of the main players in Batu, which boasts the likes of incumbent MP P. Prabakaran of Pakatan Harapan, Barisan Nasional’s Datuk A. Kohilan Pillay, and independents Tian Chua, and Siti Zabedah Kassim.

However, he hopes to impress the 113,863 registered voters in the constituency with his business-like approach.

“There is a broad spectrum of society in Batu, and they all need help, in one way or another,” said Naganathan.

“I’m surprised as to why Batu is not being marketed as an automotive hub. There are so many showrooms, workshops, and spare parts dealers in the area.

“This is just one spectrum. There are many others who deserve help in other ways, like job opportunities for the hardcore poor, and youths.

“I own businesses. I see things from a business standpoint, and there many areas that can be explored to benefit those living in Batu.”

Naganathan is idealistic in his approach but sings the song that many have heard before.

What makes him different from the rest?

“I was born in Sentul but was raised in many places. Now I live in the constituency. I have friends in Sentul, who grew up in Sentul and in nearby areas. I know the place well.

“During my first few days (of campaigning), I got yelled at. Those living in the flats will tell you as it is, straight to your face. They just despise politicians. Some of them remarked that politicians only come during elections and are nowhere to be seen soon after.

“I had to change the way I introduced myself and started telling them ‘I’m not a politician. I’m a businessman’. That worked, and I got a lot more people to hear me out, to listen to what I had to say. So that helped.”

Naganathan admitted that so much more can be done to raise the living standards of those in Batu. In fact, if given the mandate, he hopes to take Batu to a whole new level.

“Imagine living, working, and playing in Batu. Raising the standard of living in the constituency will help local businesses thrive. The locals too, won’t feel left out.

“Batu’s location is strategic. It’s basically in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, and so much more can be done, and should have been done.”

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