MIC’s future hangs in the balance

0
37

Anil Netto takes a look at the Bakit Selambau state seat in Kedah where the MIC faces crunch time as Samy Vellu goes house-to-house campaigning.

The Bukit Selambau state seat by-election is is shaping up to be both a referendum on the future of the MIC and the Pakatan government’s performance in Kedah.

There has been local disgruntlement about the choice of PKR candidate, with the PKR leader seemingly opting for someone with a business and academic background, S Manikumar, a political greenhorn.

But the MIC too is recovering from the shambles of its just concluded presidential election, in which M Muthupalaniappan was prevented from contesting after the bulk of his nominations were rejected. A defeat in Bukit Selambau could hasten the party’s demise.

It would be interesting to see what kind of reception the 73-year-old Samy Vellu, who has vowed that this would be his last term as MIC president, would receive in this area. He had promised to campaign door-to-door to garner support for his party and the BN. Malays make up half the 35,000 voters while ethnic Indians comprise 30 per cent.

Some Pakatan supporters believe Samy Vellu’s mere presence will be enough to give Pakatan the edge! In any case, it would be hard to see the MIC getting the majority of the ethnic Indian votes especially after the Makkal Sakthi uprising. Support for the MIC has eroded considerably in the area. In the 2008 general election, independent candiate V Arumugam, who later switched to the PKR, scored an upset victory by a 2,362 margin over the MIC, which in 2004 had won the seat by a 7,695 majority.

READ MORE:  Wan Azizah - belas kasihan dan tanggungjawab dalam politik

But Manikumar will be up against an experienced politician, S Ganesan, the Kedah MIC deputy chief and former Lunas state assembly member. The Pakatan’s campaign will also  be hampered by a police ban on ceramah in public places, confining  the PR to indoor forums –  which effectively prevents them from reaching out to a larger audience via outdoor rallies.

Umno’s new deputy president Muhyiddin is likely to show up now and then during the campaign but it is Hishamuddin Hussein, who polled the second highest among the vice-presidents, who has been tasked with spearheading the local campaign.

Anwar is likely to be spending most of his time shuttling between Bukit Selambau and Batang Ai, while Bukit Gantang is assumed to be in the safe hands of Nizar and the strong network of Pas campaigners, supplemented by the DAP.


About the constituency

Bukit Selambau lies northeast of Sungai Petani and is one of two state seats under the Merbok parliamentary constituency. It’s a fairly large state seat with 35,000 voters. It used to be a predominantly a rubber plantation area, lying close to a railroad, which explains the relatively large ethnic Indian population (30 per cent), many of them descendants of rubber plantation workers.

There are 22 polling stations and 64 voting streams or saluran.

2008 KEDAH

   

N25 – Bukit Selambau

Voters: 34,977

  

Party

Candidate

Votes

Majority

MIC

S Krishnan

10863

IND

V Arumugam

13225

2,362

2004 KEDAH

   

N25 – Bukit Selambau

Voters: 30,322

  

Party

Candidate

Votes

Majority

MIC

Datuk V Saravanan

14196

7,695

PKR

Mustafa Khalid Hanafi

6501

 
READ MORE:  BN calling the shots in committee to curb ‘fake news’

 

Stay connected, current and committed to justice. We deliver the truth right to your doorstep every month for only RM30 a year — which is far less than your newspaper bill each month. All you have to do is click here.

Justice was never won without personal sacrifice – whether measured in time volunteered, energy devoted to a cause, or financial support generously given. We need your support in our struggle for justice. Your contribution no matter how small will be like a droplet that builds up into a wave of change. Click here if you would like to contribute financially.

Thanks for dropping by! Apart from the views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed, the opinions in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

Our voluntary writers work hard to keep these articles free for all to read. But we do need funds to support our struggle for Justice, Freedom and Solidarity. To maintain our editorial independence, we do not carry any advertisements; nor do we accept funding from dubious sources. If everyone reading this was to make a donation, our fundraising target for the year would be achieved within a week. So please consider making a donation of whatever amount you can afford to sustain Aliran. Please make payments to Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara, CIMB Bank account number 8004240948.

And why not become an Aliran member or subscribe to our FREE newsletters.

Join the conversation

Be the First to Comment!

avatar
750
  Subscribe  
Notify of