The PKR vice-president confirms that he will be contesting for the parliamentary seat of Padang Serai in Kedah.
KUALA LUMPUR: He started out as a human rights activist and then made the transition to politics. Now, PKR vice-president N Surendran has his guns trained on a parliamentary seat for his election debut.
The lawyer, a familiar face at the forefront of numerous human rights abuse cases, would be contesting in the Padang Serai constituency in Kedah, now held by N Gobalakrishnan.
Gobalakrishnan, who quit PKR following differences with the leadership, is still hoping that he would be allowed to contest the seat without hindrance from Barisan Nasional.
In an exclusive interview with FMT, Surendran said: “Yes, I would be contesting the Padang Serai seat. I have worked in elections since 1999; however, this would be the first time I would be standing as a candidate.”
“It is quite a challenge and at the same time it is exciting, but the main goal is to garner enough seats in order to take control of the federal government.
“There is a need to change this country; to rule this country the way it ought to be done,” he added.
Commenting on the speculation that many PKR MPs would be replaced in the coming election, he said that seat deliberations are still ongoing.
“It is an open secret that certainly some may be dropped and there may be new candidates but most would be able to accept the central leadership’s decision.
“There are many ways for them to contribute especially after the takeover of Putrajaya, which we are reasonably confident of, because there’s a lot of work to be done,” he added.
Surendran said that there is a place for everyone in PKR, in the efforts to clean up this country. “We need to end corruption, we also need to clean up the administration,” he added.
With regard to Padang Serai, Surendran said that he had been working on the ground there for sometime.
“I was assigned to contest in Padang Serai by the party leadership which, of course, I immediately accepted.
“I started working in Padang Serai sometime back to send Pakatan’s message down to the people, to explain the changes that we wish to bring,” he added.
No separate list of Indian candidates
Surendran revealed that among the many problems in Padang Serai, it was the poverty rate that alarmed him.
“There’s a lot of problems in Padang Serai, there are many poor people and there’s definitely a lot of work to be done because the poverty rate there is quite shocking. The federal government has not done enough to tackle poverty,” he added.
Asked whether there is a separate list of PKR Indian candidates, he replied that there is none.
“There is no separate list of PKR Indian candidates in the general election. Candidates are being chosen on the basis of requirements of the constituencies, capability, capacity, track record and potential contribution to a new Pakatan government.
“The primary consideration would be the ability of the candidate to bring change to this country and to serve the people of this country,” he added.
Last week, Gobalakrishnan told FMT said that he will defend his seat as an independent candidate with BN’s support, adding that he had urged BN not to contest against him.
“I definitely stand a better chance than an MCA (BN) candidate,” he told FMT. “Nobody has shown more interest in the wellbeing of the people there than I have.”
Gobalakrishnan quit PKR in early 2011 after receiving a show-cause letter over his attacks against the party leadership.