Will more Indians be elected to Parliament this time?

Academic Denison Jayasooria says Malaysian Indians form a significant minority voter block in nine peninsular states. (Facebook pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: An academic expects Barisan Nasional (BN) to retain three of the 10 parliamentary seats contested by its Indian candidates but says it will struggle in the other seven.

Denison Jayasooria of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia said his analysis showed that Pakatan Harapan (PH) would retain at least seven seats.

He said BN would retain Tapah, Hulu Selangor and Segamat, while PH would retain Batu Kawan, Bukit Gelugor, Ipoh Barat, Batu Gajah, Puchong, Sg Buloh and Klang.

He said the hottest contests between BN and PH candidates would be in Jelutong, Sungai Siput, Cameron Highlands, Sungai Buloh, Port Dickson and Segamat.

According to him, BN has a strong chance of taking back Sungai Siput from the opposition while Cameron Highlands will likely go to DAP. He said there was a possibility that Port Dickson would go to BN.

“Malaysian Indians form a significant minority voter block with 9% to 27% of voters in 64 parliamentary constituencies in nine states in Peninsular Malaysia,” he said.

“It can be noted that in these 64 parliamentary seats there are 5,843,584 registered voters of whom 816,542 or 13.97% are Malaysian Indians

“There are times when people do express that Indians are not significant but with 5,000 and more voters, it will swing the results if there are splits among Malay and Chinese voters. This is especially so in the parliamentary seats that were marginally won with 1,000 and less votes. Likewise if we consider the 33 parliamentary seats with 10,000 to 19,000 voters.”

He said in seven parliamentary constituencies, Indian voters number above 20,000, with Kota Raja the highest in both percentage and number of voters at 27.68% and 41,249 Indian voters. This was followed by Petaling Jaya with 19.54% and 27,535 voters, and Klang with 17.9% and 25,523 voters.

Denison said there were a total of 36 Malaysian Indians contesting in 22 parliamentary constituencies. On the BN side there are 10 candidates with nine from MIC and the other from Gerakan. In 2013, MIC won only four of these: Tapah, Cameron Highlands, Hulu Selangor and Segamat

On the PH side there are 13 Indians with five from PKR and eight from DAP. The others include three representing PAS, and independents.

In the 2013 general election, 12 Indians were elected to Parliament – four from BN and eight from DAP and PKR.

“This constitutes only 5.4%, which is lower than the 8% Indian population in Malaysia. The challenge in 2018 is to see if these numbers will increase, in terms of Indian ethnic representation in Parliament,” Denison said.

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