KUANTAN: Talk about playing it cool – Independent candidate Joseph Tang, who is trying his luck in the Beserah state seat, took one week to finally kickstart his campaign.

“I just collected my flyers and went for a walkabout (on Saturday),” he said with a chuckle.

Tang, 45, said he wanted to take a break first before he got into the swing of things.

The petrol station owner is in a five-way tussle with Pakatan Harapan’s Zulkifli Mohamed, Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Mustaffar Kamal Ab Hamid, Perikatan Nasional’s Andansura Rabu and Pejuang’s Mohd Fauzi Taib.

Andansura, from PAS, is the incumbent Beserah assemblyman.

Asked what drove him to contest for the state seat where he is the “extreme underdog”, Tang said he wanted to uplift the Chinese community whom he felt had been neglected by previous Beserah assemblymen.

According to his manifesto, Tang plans to develop Pantai Beserah into an international tourist destination besides turning Beserah into a duty-free zone for tourists.

He also wants to work with educators and schools to develop digital schools that would become the model for education in Pahang.

Besides that, Tang aims to turn the Air Putih area into a food court and to promote the cuisines of the three main races.

Beserah is a Malay-majority constituency but Tang said he felt good about his chances since there were so many contenders in the running.

“Malays make up about 75% of the voters here while the Chinese are about 19% and the rest are Indians and other races.

“Since there are so many other candidates, I feel there is a good chance there will be a split vote and I will get the advantage,” said the father of two.

If he is elected, he said he would remain an Independent and not join any party.

Asked why he chose the key as his logo, Tang said it was a symbol of “opening the door to the future.”

Beserah is a constituency of 59,370 voters.