KUALA LUMPUR, (Bernama), April 7 -- MIC president Datuk Seri S.Samy
Vellu said the party will campaign on development issues not only for
the Indians, but for all races in the constituency, in the April 25 Hulu
He had instructed the party's 70 branch chairmen in Hulu Selangor to
submit daily reports to him on the development status in their areas and
to touch base with the people more often.
He told reporters at the MIC headquarters here that he had been visiting
Hulu Selangor in the past few days to see and hear for himself the
problems faced by the people and meeting the community representatives
to seek their views.
The party's Wanita, Youth, Puteri and Putera wings had also lined up
many people-centric programmes.
"We will all work as a team in the spirit of the BN (Barisan Nasional).
Together, I am confident that we can take back the seat (Hulu
Selangor)," he said, adding that the MIC machinery would also counter
opposition allegations against the BN.
He did not discount the possibility of deploying the Bagan Pinang
by-election campaign strategy in Hulu Selangor where more than 70
percent of the Indian voters voted for the BN.
Hulu Selangor was represented by MIC deputy president Datuk G.Palanivel
for four terms until his loss to Datuk Dr Zainal Abidin Ahmad of Parti
Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) in the 2008 general election.
Hulu Selangor Candidate Will Be From MIC - PM
SHAH ALAM, April 7 (Bernama) -- The Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate
for the Hulu Selangor by-election will be from the MIC, said Prime
Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
He said the BN would uphold the team spirit of the coalition in
determining which party gets to contest a seat and as for Hulu Selangor,
the seat belonged to the MIC.
"As it is the MIC's seat, we UMNO, MCA, PPP and Gerakan will back the BN
candidate but I just ask that the person be decided by the BN chairman
(Najib) because I want us to win," he told participants of a Selangor BN
convention here Wednesday.
Najib said he did not want BN component parties to be too calculative in
the matter (selection of candidate) because what was important was a BN
victory this time.
"As friends, if we lose it is not that MIC was defeated but the BN, if
we win MIC wins and BN wins," he added. Speaking at a press conference
later, Najib said the sentiment and mood on the ground in Hulu Selangor
now favoured the BN.
However, he said in a by-election there were a number of factors to be
considered, one of them the candidate itself, unlike a general election
where the nation's leadership and national issues featured very much.
"If we want to win, we have to take into account all the factors.
We are in the process of assessing what do they (voters) want in terms
of the BN's role as well as the candidate," he said.
The Hulu Selangor seat fell vacant following the death of PKR's
in*****bent member of parliament Datuk Dr Zainal Abidin Ahmad on March 25,
due to brain cancer.
In the 2008 general election, Zainal Abidin defeated Datuk G. Palanivel
of the Barisan Nasional, with a 198-vote majority. Hulu Selangor has
Nomination is on April 17 and polling on April 25.
Do-or-die battle for Hulu Selangor
Comment by BARADAN KUPPUSAMY
Victory for PKR will be an endorsement of the Pakatan
Rakyat administration’s people-friendly policies in Selangor.
considers the Hulu Selangor by-election a major battle and is pulling
out all the stops to retain the former Barisan Nasional fort that it won
narrowly by 198 votes in the 2008 general election. “We are
throwing everything into this battle. “It is a major battle for
us and we want to win,” said PKR strategy director Tian Chua. “Hulu
Selangor is a test for us in more ways than one. “It will also
showcase our preparation or (lack of it) for the final battle ahead,” he
said, referring to the next general election. It is also the
first by-election battle in Selangor and like Barisan, PKR also wants to
enter the general election with a big win behind it in Hulu Selangor.
The party has been carefully weighing its options in Hulu Selangor
even before its in*****bent Datuk Dr Zainal Abidin Ahmad passed away on
March 25. The seat was a Barisan stronghold and previously held
by Barisan stalwarts like MCA’s Tan Sri Michael Chen, Tan Sri Lee Kim
Sai and Tan Sri Khaw Kai Boh, even as far back as the country’s first
election in 1955 with Tun Omar Ong Yoke Lin in the seat as its MP. This
historical seat passed to the MIC and the current MIC deputy president
Datuk G. Palanivel won it in 1990 in his first outing as a fresh-faced
politician. He managed to retain the seat easily and by huge
margins in subsequent general elections, but was swept away in the 2008
tsunami. In fact, he was the first Barisan leader ever to lose
this strategic parliamentary seat. Pakatan Rakyat, PKR
especially, has come under tremendous pressure to not just win the
constituency but by a bigger margin than the 198 that Dr Zainal Abidin
managed in 2008. The stakes are especially high for PKR and less
so for the DAP or PAS. For PKR, a victory is crucial as it will
somewhat erase the stigma attached to the party after it was rocked by
an internal crisis last month with four of its MPs defecting – three to
become independents while the fourth was sacked for alleged
indiscipline. A big victory in Hulu Selangor will also hold up
Pakatan as a tenable coalition and boost morale among members besides
silencing critics who allege the opposition coalition is likely to
implode. Victory will also be an endorsement of the Pakatan’s
administration of Selangor – which it is trying to turn into a showcase
of good, clean and environment-sensitive management with its numerous
people-friendly policies. Pakatan has also closed ranks and left
it to PKR to contest the seat and for its leader Datuk Seri Anwar
Ibrahim to select the candidate. PKR leaders have had three major
meetings since March 25 to discuss potential candidates. The
list has been changing with numerous names included and later dropped.
But finally, the choice has been made. Key Pakatan leaders
will make the announcement together in Kuala Kubu Baru on April 13. Currently,
only two names are on the final list – local boy neurosurgeon Dr Halili
Rahmat and PKR co-ordinator Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, a former Umno MP for
Kota Baru. PKR sources said that after wide-ranging debates, the
final choice would be Zaid, the former Minister in the Prime Minister’s
Department who resigned in September 2008 during the premiership of Tun
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi over the use of the ISA against DAP MP Teresa Kok
and two others. Whether the chosen one is Dr Halili or Zaid, it
is still an uphill battle for Pakatan. “We are the underdogs but
don’t discount an upset victory,” said Tian Chua. The
constituency, while having a Malay majority, has significant numbers of
Chinese and Indian voters at 27% and 19%, respectively. The total
electorate of 64,000 is spread out over a vast area – in small towns,
new villages and oil palm plantations, Felda schemes and traditional
Malay villages. Within the constituency itself one can classify
the majority Malay voters into two categories – semi-urban and deeply
rural, a situation that will test the PKR’s waning influence over rural
Malay voters. The terrain can be extremely rough with voters in
places like Ulu Bernam on the edge of Perak state or in far-flung Felda
settlements that border Pahang, not counting the Orang Asli settlements.
The remoteness of some parts of the constituency is a major
nightmare for political campaigners, especially given the short
eight-day campaign period. The by-election will test the
machinery of both the coalitions to the maximum – to reach voters, to
convince them and even to ferry some out to vote. While
nomination is only on April 17, the battle for Hulu Selangor has already
started under various guises with all the major political leaders and
their helpers already making a beeline for the constituency to convince
Samy-Subra feud a distraction for BN in Hulu Selangor
By Baradan Kuppusamy
KUALA LUMPUR, April 7 — The nearly life-long feud between MIC
president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu and his former deputy Datuk S.
Subramaniam has escalated into an open war and as usual they are using
their respective Tamil newspapers to fire salvos at each other.
The real victim of their never ending feud seems to be the Barisan
Nasional which is facing a major battle with the Pakatan Rakyat for the
Hulu Selangor constituency on April 25.
More specifically Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who wants to
win the constituency in a big way to show that national political
momentum is behind him, is left holding the adverse results of their
never ending feud.
In a statement yesterday Subramaniam attacked Samy Vellu and his
Tamil Nesan newspaper in a uncharacteristic and frontal attack, blaming
the party president for the ills in the community and accusing him of
being a major handicap for BN.
He criticised Samy and Tamil Nesan for implying that he and his
supporters were not backing deputy president Datuk G. Palanivel as the
Hulu Selangor parliamentary by-election candidate.
“These articles in Tamil Nesan were written with a sinister and
ulterior political motive to sow seeds of hatred and animosity among MIC
and Barisan Nasional supporters,” Subramanian said.
He said the by-election should be used as an opportunity to unite the
different factions in MIC and to bring them together to win the seat.
“The articles falsely implied that I was behind the move for the seat
not to be given to MIC or Palanivel,” he said.
He said the newspaper had also alleged that he was plotting to defeat
of Palanivel by instigating some independent candidates to stand
Tamil Nesan in articles last week implied that Subramaniam was behind
the independents — four mid-level MIC leaders — and said Subramaniam
was continuing his feud with Samy Vellu and Palanivel by fielding these
“He lost in a free and fair contest to Palanivel and should be man
enough to admit the defeat,” Tamil Nesan managing director Vel Paari
told The Malaysian Insider.
“He should know when to fight and when to close ranks,” he added. “We
are fighting for Barisan victory now and must close ranks.”
Samy Vellu supporters told The Malaysian Insider
Makkal Osai newspaper, owned by supporters of Subramaniam, had been
constantly harping on alleged problems in Hulu Selangor, implying that
Palanivel did “nothing” as MP for four terms.
They also give prominence to the independents and any anti-Samy Vellu
news, the supporters said.
The accusations were denied by Subramaniam supporters who said the
newspaper was merely giving space to the legitimate grouses of the Hulu
Selangor’s Indian constituents.
“It is a fact that Samy Vellu is unpopular and that Indian voters in
Hulu Selangor don’t want Palanivel to contest,” said a diehard
Subramaniam loyalist who declined to be named for fear of a backlash
from the MIC.
Subramaniam fought Palanivel twice for the deputy president’s post
and lost both times because of strong support for Palanivel from Samy
In the 2009 contest Najib, when opening the MIC congress and
election, gave a sterling speech for change that brought the delegates
to their feet.
The animosity between the two camps run deep and have surfaced in the
run-up to the Hulu Selangor battle.
For Subramaniam, who faces political oblivion, the by-election is a
chance to smear his opponents but carefully without hurting BN or Najib.
For Samy Vellu the priority is to ensure that the MIC and Palanivel
gets to contest and to win big to erase the humiliation of defeat and
possibly retire with honour on a big win in Hulu Selangor.