Formerly elected M’sian politician selling durian to make ends meet

The out-of-office politician is sniffing around for new opportunities.

Tan Min-Wei | June 24, 2022, 03:15 AM

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A former Johor state assemblyman, who previously stood for and won the state elections convincingly, is now selling and delivering durians for a living in Malaysia.

Thorny income streams

Cheo Yee How, 37, a two-term assemblymen for Perling with the Johor Democratic Action Party (DAP), has taken up a new profession to make ends meet.

This was despite him having won with a huge majority in the 2014 general election in Malaysia.

Cheo was subsequently stood down as part of a deal that allowed chairman of the Johor DAP and DAP deputy secretary-general Liew Chin Tong to take up the Perling seat.

According to an interview with the Oriental Daily, Cheo said his income had become a problem after he left his assemblyman role.

According to Malaysia’s Centre for Public Policy Studies in 2017, a Johor state assemblyman’s income was RM7,500 (S$2,360).

Because of this, and since it was the durian season, he and three friends decided to sell durians.

Cheo was also selling dragon fruit sourced by fellow former DAP assemblyman Tan Hong Pin.

Mans stall and delivers durian

Cheo said he usually sells musang king durians.

Even though he often mans the stall, he also goes on delivery runs as he mainly sells durians online.

He has set up a Facebook page to sell his durians, and has posted many pictures on his official Facebook and Instagram pages.

Cheo was popular with his constituents, and many have responded positively to the pictures.

An uncertain politcal future

According to Malaysiakini, Cheo was stood down from his seat as part of a deal worked out between Tan Hong Pin, former Skudai assemblyman and erstwhile dragon fruit supplier, and the person who would take his seat, Liew Chin Tong.

The deal was reached to allow the party to better prepare for the March 2022 state elections, where the DAP ended up losing four seats in what would end up being a landslide victory for their UMNO opponents.

Cheo, for his part, does not know what his future holds.

He said he plans to continue selling durians while they are in season, before moving on to other fruits when the season ends.

In comments reported by SAYS, Cheo said the DAP has not yet decided whether to field him for public office at the next election, and that he would just focus on his durian business in the meantime.

Top photos via Cheo Yee How