Bentong a microcosm of Malaysian politics

Huge Chinese population offers rare gauge of political soul-searching in community nationwide

Malaysian Chinese Association head Liow Tiong Lai holds the seat for Bentong in Pahang.
Malaysian Chinese Association head Liow Tiong Lai holds the seat for Bentong in Pahang.PHOTO: TRINNA LEONG

Barber Yong Oo Kung, who operates from a sliver of a partitioned shop lot on the main street of this quaint town, an hour's drive from Kuala Lumpur, gripes that he has not been able to charge more for several years.

"The cost of living is going up but if I raise prices, I will lose customers," he said as he guided an electric shaver during a buzz cut for his third customer of the day that will net him RM8 (S$2.70).

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 11, 2018, with the headline 'Bentong a microcosm of Malaysian politics'. Subscribe