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MIC President dilemma which parliamentary seat to contest

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As the general election approaches, MIC president G Palanivel is busy deciding the candidates for the parliamentary and state assembly seats allocated to MIC but he himself is in a dilemma as to which parliamentary seat to contest. And the speculations keep changing every day.

Palanivel as president may still continue as a senator without choosing to contest in a parliamentary seat in the 13th general election as he could serve as a senator for another five years. However, MIC sources indicated that the president has “almost” decided to contest in a parliamentary seat to return to the Cabinet as it would become a negative issue against MIC during general election campaigns in the event he decides not to contest.

It would also denote his weak leadership. With that decision to contest, there comes the dilemma of choosing the right and safe seat for the president as it would be an affront to MIC if the president himself loses in the general election as it happened in 2008. Hulu Selangor: Where it all began…

In the forthcoming general election, one of the seats speculated for Palanivel’s re-entry into parliament is Cameron Highlands in Pahang, comparatively a safe seat for the MIC president since the seat was won by MIC candidate SK Devamany for two consecutive terms. If Palanivel contests in Cameron then Devamany is expected to be moved to Sungai Siput in Perak.

Later it was speculated that Palanivel is eyeing the Teluk Kemang seat in Negeri Sembilan, which MIC lost to PKR in 2008. In one of his recent visits to Teluk Kemang, Palanivel spoke to several key leaders and MIC branch chairmen in Teluk Kemang on his chances if he decides to contest there.

The latest speculation is that Palanivel may contest in Kuala Langat in Selangor, a seat currently held by Umno. MIC may swap one of its seats with Umno to contest in Kuala Langat. Other than Hulu Selangor, MIC holds another three parliamentary seats in Selangor, namely, Kota Raja, Subang and Kapar. One of these seats may be swapped with Umno for the Kuala Langat seat. MIC’s decision to contest in Kuala Langat is probably based on the fact that the constituency has more than 12,000 Indian voters and being a semi-rural constituency, the Indians are expected to back MIC and BN.

The constituency consists of a wide network of MIC branches and some of the key leaders in the division are said to be close political allies of Palanivel, another factor which favours Palanivel choosing this seat.

Although Palanivel’s elevation as president of MIC was quite easy and straightforward, passing the general election barrier may not be as easy for him. He has to show that he has the mettle to lead the party to win back the support of the Indians for BN. Above all, he has to find a new parliamentary seat to contest and win in order to return again as a MP and Cabinet minister.