If Palanivel chooses to contest Tapah, I will have to leave the seat Provided endorsed by Najib – Saravanan

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PETALING JAYA – It is the prerogative of MIC president G Palanivel to decide on the list of party candidates to contest under the Barisan Nasional (BN) banner at the upcoming general election.

“We should allow the party chief to decide on the list. There is no need to speculate on who will contest which seat. Let the president pick candidates he sees fit to contest. I am sure he would pick the right candidate for the seats.

“If he chooses to contest Tapah, I can’t say much. I will have to leave the seat, provided his choice is endorsed by the Prime Minister (Najib Tun Razak, who is also the BN head). There is a lot of speculation at the moment. This is very unsettling,” party vice-president M Saravanan said today.

Saravanan, who is also Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Deputy Minister, was asked to comment if he would contest the Tapah parliamentary seat, where he is the incumbent.

Over the past month, speculation is rife that Palanivel would contest the Cameron Highlands seat, currently being held by another MIC vice-president SK Devamany, who is also Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.

Palanivel lost the Hulu Selangor parliamentary constituency in the 2008 general election by a mere 198-vote majority. He was subsequently dropped as the BN candidate for a by-election in the same seat in 2010 in favour of rising star P Kamalanathan, who won the seat with a nearly 2,000-vote majority.

Palanivel was subsequently appointed senator and made Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.

Sources reveal that MIC had finalised its list of candidates for the nine parliamentary seats allotted to it under the BN power-sharing system.
‘We must be united’

Speculation is that while Palanivel will contest in Cameron Highlands, Devamany would be moved to a state seat in Perak and subsequently made a state executive councillor if BN wins the state.

MIC’s nine parliamentary seats are Segamat (Johor), Teluk Kemang (Negeri Sembilan), Subang, Kapar, Kota Raja, Hulu Selangor (Selangor), Tapah, Sungai Siput (Perak), Cameron Highlands (Pahang).

In the last general election, MIC won three parliamentary seats.

The three MPs are Human Resources Minister Dr S Subramaniam (Segamat) , Saravanan (Tapah) and Devamany (Cameron Highlands). Kamalanathan (Hulu Selangor) won the seat in the 2010 by-election.

Saravanan said following precedent, the president would be the one to decide on seats with the consent of the prime minister.

“We have had senior people dropped as candidates before… it is all in the hands of the president. I cannot come out and declare myself as the candidate for Tapah without the green light from the party president. We have a system and it should be followed.

“If people start declaring themselves as BN candidates from the MIC, then it would create confusion and problems. We must be united and seen to be united. This is the strength we should build on. I ask potential and aspiring candidates to hold their horses. Wait until you are named as a candidate of a particular seat. Then you can start talking about the seat and all.

“Even if there is a disagreement, let’s discuss things behind closed doors… we cannot afford to squabble over seats at a crucial election like the next one,” he added. -FMT