SUNGAI SIPUT: PSM incumbent Dr Michael Jeyakumar is disappointed that he has to face Pakatan Harapan in the contest for the Sungai Siput parliamentary seat, despite expressing his support for the coalition to form the new government.
This follows PKR’s decision to contest the seat despite Jeyakumar appealing to Pakatan Harapan not to field a candidate.
The seat will see a four-way fight involving Jeyakumar, BN’s SK Devamany, PKR’s S Kesavan and PAS’ Dr Ishak Ibrahim.
Jeyakumar won the seat in the last two general elections — in 2008 and 2013 — using the PKR logo, after negotiations between PSM and the then Pakatan Rakyat opposition coalition.
“I feel very sad that it has come to this solely because of the issue of logos and a matter of allocating a few seats to PSM.
“Now, voters will be torn between PSM and PKR as they really want to see a change in the government.
“PH should have recognised what PSM has done here and should have known that we are with them to bring BN down,” he said, adding that the split in opposition votes between the two parties will only benefit BN.
This is compounded by the fact that PAS will split the vote three ways among voters against the BN government.
“This is almost a certainty. It is now going to be a very difficult contest for us.
“PKR was okay with me using their logo in the last two general elections. However, now, when we are using the PSM logo and also pledging our allegiance to PH, it is putting up its candidate here to gift this seat to BN.
“What is so wrong with the PSM logo? If you want to take over Putrajaya, isn’t every seat important? We have always said we will support PH to form the federal government.”
His opponents had nothing but nice words for Jeyakumar, whom they recognise as a hardworking and helpful people’s representative in Sungai Siput.
Devamany, who is MIC deputy president, praised Jeyakumar as a “great man”.
“The incumbent Dr Jeyakumar is my friend and he is a great man, but he needs the resources to help more people here. Unfortunately, he does not have those resources.
“I, on the other hand, am in the Economic Planning Unit in the federal government and we have many plans for the country,” he said at the nomination centre.
Devamany is also hopeful that the split in opposition votes will ultimately bring victory to BN.
“Yes, we are hoping for that, but I also hope the people will give us a chance for the next five years.
“The people in Sungai Siput are yearning for development, better infrastructure and more opportunities. These are things only BN can provide.
“There is a dire need for affordable housing. There’s also the issue of health problems, due to an aging society here and poverty, which we can address at the federal level,” he said.
“Give me five years to prove I can change things here. If I fail, you can throw me out.”
PKR candidate S Kesavan said although Jeyakumar was a “good man” and has his own presence in Sungai Siput, the people were yearning for change in the federal government.
“He has contributed a lot to the people here but people will vote PH because they want change at the federal level.
“I think PH, led by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, will be too good a choice for the people not to support,” he said.
PAS’ Dr Ishak Ibrahim said people would vote PAS because it was the third biggest party after Umno and DAP.
“We are a huge party, the third biggest in the country. This is why everyone has to support PAS to beat BN,” he said.
Jeyakumar defeated former MIC president S Samy Vellu in 2008 with a 1,821-vote majority and retained the seat with an increased 2,793-vote margin in 2013, when he took on Devamany in a straight fight.