Veerasingham, also a vice-president, and Nijhar, were dropped to fulfil the
promise by MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu to the Indian community to
infuse new blood in the party line-up to appease Indians as to the relevance of
the party to represent the community.
The MIC, allocated with nine
parliamentary and 19 state seats, had also made changes in 13 state seats in
efforts to rejuvenate and bring the party closer to the 1.8 million Indians in
Saravanan told Bernama although the people's support for the
BN candidate in Tapah was "excellent", the constituency needs more development
to stay on par with other major towns, such as Ipoh.
"No doubt the
in*****bent (Veerasingham) has done great job, but we still need to do more to
bring in more development. I don't want Tapah to lag behind in development," he
He said though his experience as a two-term senator had come in
handy when meeting the people, "this experience is still new to
"This is a valuable experience I will not forget for the rest of my
life. I was campaigning in a Malay village when a villager invited me for lunch,
but since I was already late for another appointment, I politely declined the
"I did not expect her to get upset when I declined to have
lunch in her house. It was like a mother asking the son to eat. In order not to
offend a mother, I joined the family for lunch...it was a heart-warming
situation," he said.
Saravanan, who is also Federal Territories MIC
chief, said he did not face any problems during his campaign rounds in the
suburban constituency, but was surprised he did not receive any request for
financial allocations from the villagers whom he had visited.
think I will face problems to retain the seat for BN. While all these are
humbling experiences, I'm enjoying it. I want to serve these people," he
In the 2004 general election, Veerasingham retained the Tapah seat,
with some 38,000 voters, beating a PAS contestant by a comfortable 9,586-vote
In this election, Saravanan is locking horns with Tan Seng Toh
of Parti Keadilan Rakyat in a straight fight.
Meanwhile, Murugesan, is
working very hard, moving from one housing estate to another to cover as much
ground as possible in this huge constituency of 68,000 electorate.
covered almost all the areas in Subang and the feedback has been very good," he
Murugesan, better known as "Muru" in MIC circles, said being a
young candidate had its advantages as the people in this seat are expecting "new
ideas and new methods" in addressing issues and problems.
"But I must
thank Tan Sri Nijhar who has done a good job here. I am well received wherever I
went in Subang. People welcome me and I know they are sincere," he
Being a first-timer, it is sometimes "overwhelming" when meeting
the voters who go out of their way to make "me feel comfortable."
Shah Alam MIC youth chief does not foresee problems in retaining the seat for
"I've received one or two complaints and I've promised to solve the
issues...otherwise things look good. I don't forsee any problems.
last election, Nijhar won the Subang seat with a whopping 15,460-vote majority,
beating a PKR candidate.
In this election, Murugesan is facing another
PKR candidate, R. Sivarasa, for the seat, which has about 84,000
Buntong's Indians play kingmakers
B Mahendran | Mar 1, 08 2:20pm
Buntong in Perak is unique - this constituency has the distinction of having
the highest proportion of Indian voters in the country, about 46 percent of its
And the grassroots sentiments among the Indian
community this time around makes the electoral contest in this state seat an
interesting one to watch.
Feelings on the ground is filled with Hindraf
sentiment, with claims of Indian marginalisation is well alive in every corner
. Dissatisfaction towards the ruling
BN and Umno has now been turned into hatred towards the MIC and its chief, S
Just few weeks ago, a group of youths threw eggs at both MIC
Perak chief G Rajoo and Perak Mentri Besar Tajol Rosli Ghazali at a function
here. While both the politicians deny being hit, eyewitnesses said at least one
egg hit the MIC man.
It is this anger that the DAP is trying to turn into its
favour to capture this state seat from MCA, and the opposition party’s task is
made easier with in*****bent Yik Phooi Hong moving onto the Ipoh Barat
Sivasubramaniam will be trying to win the seat at his second attempt on March 8,
against the ruling party’s Lee Tung Lai (BN). In 2004, he lost to Yik, known as
the ‘Buntong Tiger’ by 2,382-vote majority.
On Wednesday night, DAP big
guns Lim Kit Siang (in*****bent at neighbouring Ipoh Timur
parliamentary seat) and
Kulasegaran (in*****bent at Ipoh Barat) gave a ceramah in Buntong, easily
attracting 1,000 people, mostly Indians.
Shouts of 'Makkal Sakthi'
(people's power) filled the air and every time the ceramah touched on Indian
issues, large sections of the crowd nod, agreeing with the familiarity of such
But this does not mean MIC has given up on the Indian
voters in Buntong.
The MIC machinery is going all out to woo back the
Indian voters, a task which the party says can be done although it is
"This service centre (Yik's Buntong office) is open every
Thursday, for the past 15 years," said party volunteer M Raju
The ex-national athlete said the ground sentiment was changing slowly in
favour of the ruling party.
"Give us time and we can prove ourselves," he
However Raju admitted that all was not well, especially
within the MIC. He took a swipe at several MIC leaders whom he claimed to have
He also claimed that while many Indians were not happy
with the MIC, blaming the government would only spell disaster to the poor
"Some MIC leaders are not doing anything, that is why
people hate MIC... the opposition on the other hand, is simply making use of the
These sentiments were shared by MIC Perak Youth head, S
"They (DAP) hijacked the whole episode. Hindraf did create
political awakening, which was good.
"But the opposition poisoned the rakyat to hate MIC and Samy Vellu," he said.
Departing in*****bent Yik (right
) however expressed
his confidence that the Indian voters would back the BN on the polling
In his campaign runs on behalf of Lee, he has been assured of the
Malay votes (a measly 6.29 percent).
The Chinese voters however, standing at 46.17 percent, are equally split
between the two candidates, making the Indian voters to be in a unique position
of being ‘kingmakers’.
Observers here also noted that only those under
the age of 40 will vote against the BN as these were the people that were
heavily influenced by Hindraf. Furthermore, they added, many youths in their
early 20s - and against the BN - were still not registered as voters.
are retired civil servants. Of course, we will support the ‘dacing’ (the BN
symbol)," said local resident A Sivabalan.
New-face Lee, still unknown to
many, is counting on the popularity of his predecessor and the good track record
of his party MCA to win the election.
Yik was the state representative for three terms and commanded high respect
from the local voters. He has captured the hearts of the Indians here with his
little command of the Tamil language.
However despite his popularity and his confidence, Indian
turnouts for BN election functions are poor.
A party campaign on
Thursday evening reflected the difficulty the MIC and the BN are facing in
convincing the community. Organised by various MIC branches, the event was
attended by barely 40 people, all branch leaders. (above