Becoming a bridge between the young and old groups to balance their interests in terms of welfare was among the main aims of the Chini by-election candidate Mohd Sharim Md Zain in order to serve the people in the state constituency.

The Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate said he had been actively involved in issues pertaining to the welfare of residents in the constituency and also in the Pekan Parliamentary area prior to this, mostly at the youth level, but now he wanted to play a more effectively role as the elected representative for all groups.

Mohd Sharim, who is a second-generation of Felda Chini 3, said all problems related to local residents had and were being identified and he was confident that the problems could be resolved.

"We are identifying (the issues involving locals). I will try to be a bridge - between the older and the younger group - to look into their welfare, housing, living costs... to pay equal attention to the interests of these two groups," he told Bernama in an interview.

In addition, he said he would also be conducting a survey to obtain views and consequently take appropriate action.

"The biggest issue in the Felda areas are abandoned housing projects allocated for the second-generation group.

''Another issue is the health clinic in Felda Chini Timur which needs to be upgraded due to overcrowding while there are only three ATM machines available for the residents,'' he said.

Mohd Sharim, 41, said other than addressing issues involving the Felda areas, which comprised 82 per cent of the people in the state seat, focus should also be given to the welfare of the residents in traditional and Orang Asli villages.

"Issues related to traditional villages are concerning housing and costs of living and on how to improve their economy.

''Meanwhile, the new generation of the Orang Asli community will certainly want land, and houses from the Housing Programme for the Hardcore Poor (PPRT)," he said.

In comparison with the older generations who were seen as already stable and were mostly hoping for better facilities, he said issues related to the youth in the area were concerning economic resources and job opportunities.

" We are also looking at some youths who are keen on doing business at roadside stalls, online or in the farmers markets. We propose that they are all placed in one area.

''In this way, it will be easier for the people to go shopping,'' he said.

Mohd Sharim said the state government had also mobilised programmes such as 'Sentuhan Kasih' (for married second generation) which, among others, provided work opportunities.

''A paper mill will also be opened soon in Paloh Hinai, here in Chini, which will offer 3,000 jobs," he said.

He said another issue he hoped to address was the image of Felda which was frequently associated with social problems such as drug abuse and 'mat rempit' (illegal motorcycling racing).

''I want to encourage youths to engage in better activities including religious pursuits. This can be a form of education for them and indirectly there would be activities in the area for the locals," he said.

His other suggestion was to have more sports facilities such as a sports complex.

"The Felda area in the Chini constituency is divided into two parts, Felda Chini Timur and Felda Chini.

Felda Chini Timur, already has a community sports complex while Felda Chini has no such facility. We will try to make it happen," he said.

The Chini state by-election on July 4 is a three-cornered fight between Mohd Sharim and two independent candidates Tengku Datuk Zainul Hisham Tengku Hussin, 64, and Mohd Shukri Mohd Ramli, 49, following the death of its incumbent Datuk Seri Abu Bakar Harun on May 7.