PETALING JAYA: Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael Jeyakumar has welcomed a possible challenge from MIC treasurer-general S Vell Paari in the 14th general election (GE14).
However, he warned Vell Paari that the mindset of voters had changed since former MIC president S Samy Vellu held sway in the parliamentary constituency.
Samy Vellu, who is Vell Paari’s father, was an eight-term MP in Sungai Siput from 1973 to 2008.
Jeyakumar said voters in Sungai Siput had changed over the last 10 years and now demanded a different sort of representative.
“Any MIC leader coming to Sungai Siput will find a more ‘aware’ electorate.
“The people reject money politics. People are now more critical of politicians.
“After 10 years of a different kind of leadership, people have begun to be more critical of what an MP’s position is on various issues, especially those affecting poor people, like housing and minimum wage.
“People have seen the right way an MP should conduct himself and most agree with the example that has been set (by PSM),” he told FMT.
He added that PSM had tried to put forward the model of an “MP who is a friend”.
“We put forward the type of MP who will help you fight for your rights and work with you to fight for the rights to your land, for instance.
“Voters have observed over the past 10 years our kind of leadership, which is down to earth and aimed at empowering the people. They prefer us,” Jeyakumar said.
Vell Paari was reported to be interested in the Sungai Siput seat although he subsequently hit out at the claims, saying he had never requested for it.
He also said that MIC president Dr S Subramaniam was right to demand that party leaders stop making public statements requesting for seats in GE14.
Subramaniam issued the warning shortly after Vell Paari’s statement that he was keen to contest in Sungai Siput.
He also warned against any “challenges to the decisions of the party leadership”.
In GE13, Jeyakumar successfully defended the seat against MIC’s SK Devamany with a majority of 2,793 votes. Of the 40,000 who voted, 39% were Chinese, 33% Malays and 21% Indians.
Jeyakumar earned the nickname “Giant Killer” in 2008 when he unseated Samy Vellu from Sungai Siput. Samy Vellu was then president of MIC and one of the most senior members of the federal cabinet.
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