PETALING JAYA: An MIC leader in Perak has predicted that Barisan Nasional (BN) will wrest the Hutan Melintang state seat from PKR in the May 9 polls chiefly because Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s influence there is strong.
Speaking to FMT, Ipoh Timur MIC chief R Ganesan noted that Hutan Melintang lies within Zahid’s parliamentary constituency of Bagan Datuk.
He said Bagan Datuk’s fortunes started changing when Zahid became the deputy prime minister in 2016 following the sacking of Muhyiddin Yassin from the post.
He added that Hutan Melintang and Rungkup, the other state constituency within Bagan Datuk, had greatly benefited from projects that Zahid had brought to the district.
Ganesan, a former state assembly speaker, also noted that PKR candidate G Manivannan would be a new face in Hutan Melintang, unlike the BN candidate, local son Khairuddin Tarmizi, who is deputy chief of the Bagan Datuk Umno division.
Manivannan has been moved to Hutan Melintang from Kapar, the parliamentary seat he won in the 2013 election. S Kesavan, the man who first won Hutan Melintang for PKR in 2008 and retained the seat in 2013, will be contesting the Sungai Siput parliamentary seat.
Ganesan said voters would not warm up to Manivannan like they did to Kesavan, a local boy.
“Umno also has the advantage in Hutan Melintang as it has a sizeable Malay population,” he added.
In GE13, Kesavan was involved in a four-way battle against MIC, Berjasa and an independent candidate. Hutan Melintang had 24,637 voters, 49% of them Malays, 18% Chinese and 32% Indians. Kesavan won with a majority of 1,240.
Bagan Datuk became an administrative district in 2016. Since then, about 70 infrastructure projects have either been implemented there or will be, as promised by BN.
Zahid has been quoted as saying that the district will be transformed into an employment hub with the establishment of the Perak Heavy Industry Park, an automotive and vehicle installation plant, and a tuna processing factory.
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