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Only crumbs left for MIC in Perak

 | March 22, 2013

The party, under G Palanivel, is being given the cold shoulder and told to stand in queue for the leftovers of state seats in Perak.

TAIPING: The MIC is facing an uphill battle in its struggle to secure four state seats in Perak. In the 2008 general election, the party lost in Sungkai, Hutang Melintang, Pasir Panjang and Behrang.

That miserable performance provided grist to Umno’s mill to flex its muscles, and the long-time Barisan Nasional component party is now fighting to pick up whatever is left of the crumbs.

As an equal partner of BN during the tenure of S Samy Vellu, the party enjoyed cordial relationship with former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad and had some measure of respect.

Samy Vellu’s combative personality and aggressive nature ensured that he got what he wanted but the political equation has changed with his exit.

The MIC, under G Palanivel, is being given the cold shoulder and told to stand in the queue for the leftovers of state seats in Perak.

Umno has taken over the Malay-majority state seats of Pasir Panjang and Behrang and the MIC is being compensated for these seats with the promise of the posts of senator and state speaker.

MIC, realising that with the loss of these two seats to Umno, it may be politically vulnerable, has demanded another two state seats as replacements from Menteri Besar Zambry Abdul Kadir.

Umno obliged with the state seats of Sungkai and Tronoh held by MCA, which had earlier agreed to give up its Buntong seat, which has the highest number of Indian voters, to MIC.

But the giving away of these two MCA seats did not go down well with its (MCA’s) grassroots and state leaders, and they started to demand back these two Chinese-majority seats.

According to MIC sources, Umno has agreed to MCA’s demand, but has offered the Gerakan-held Aulong state seat and MCA-held Sitiawan state seat as alternatives to MIC.

Gerakan chief Koh Tsu Koon made a hurried trip down to Taiping to cool frayed nerves of Gerakan Aulong branch members who refused to let go of the state seat to MIC.

‘We’re not beggers’

Koh declined to confirm if Aulong will officially go to MIC and said the final decision of allocation of seats will be made by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak soon.

MIC’s rollercoaster ride in the allocation of state seats has many state party leaders and members seething with anger at the shabby treatment of the party by BN parties.

One MIC member, who declined to be named, said: “We are not beggars. We are simply exercising our right to the allocation of our four state seats.”

Another member said both the Aulong and Sitiawan seats are dominated by pro-opposition Chinese voters and it will be suicidal for MIC to contest in these two seats.

One area of concern is the possibility of both Gerakan and MCA members, angry with the transfer of these two seats, sabotaging the MIC candidates’ chances.

While MIC’s image is being battered by external factors, it is also facing internal bickering among members who seem disunited and many seem to have personal agendas.

MIC candidates parachuted to contest in the initially selected state seats of Buntong, Hutan Melintang, Aulong and Sitiawan are feeling jittery over their chances.

Many MIC members are frightened to voice their concern at the deteriorating state of affairs in the party under the weak leadership of Palanivel.

One party leader said that his boss likes to do things on the quiet without much publicity to achieve  his set targets.

But can the silent political moves of the party leader be understood by his members who seem to be lost and confused by the ongoing political activities of MIC?

The state Umno knows that it cannot depend on the pro-opposition Chinese voters for its survival while the Malay votes are split three ways among Umno, PAS and PKR.

Umno has to change gears to please the Indian community through the patronage of MIC and has to play ball to be in the good books of the Indian voters.

This dependence of Umno on Indian votes has been over-exploited by the many champions of the community, to get on BN’s gravy train for financial and personal glory.


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