The Tapah Umno division and a local non-governmental organisation today disputed a prominent blogger’s claim that chances of the Barisan Nasional (BN) retaining the Tapah parliamentary seat hinges on Indian support.
Insisting that Tapah was a sure bet for BN, Tapah Umno committee member Mazlan Johari said there was no reason for incumbent M Saravanan to lose the parliamentary seat.
He said Malays constitute about 47% of voters in the constituency and majority of them were still loyal to BN and Umno.
“The momentum is there. The people of Tapah like Saravanan. I can even say that he is looking at a bigger majority this time around. People know him better now. In 2008, he was a newcomer. He struggled to get votes in 2008 due to the political tsunami. But the same can’t be said now,”
“Even in 2008 he won with a relatively comfortable majority. That was when he was not a deputy minister. Now he is a deputy minister. He is also active on the ground. So, I don’t think that he would face any major problem in retaining this seat,” said Mazlan.
On Tuesday Mohd Ariff Sabri, a former Barisan Nasional state assemblyman and blogger, who runs the ‘Sakmongkol AK47′ blog, claimed that the Tapah parliamentary constituency was not a sure bet for BN and that the constituency could fall to Pakatan Rakyat at the next general election.
The one term Pulau Manis (Pekan, Pahang) state representative pointed that MIC can be defeated in Tapah if the opposition pact wins over 20% Indian support in the tussle for the seat.
While supporting Ariff’s speculation, a Tapah based DAP leader who declined to be named had said that the MIC vice president could be kicked out of Tapah if the Malay votes are split .
Saravanan, who is also Federal Territories and Urban Well-being deputy minister, won the Tapah parliamentary seat at the 2008 general election beating a PKR candidate by a 3,000 vote majority.
Tapah is relatively a small constituency in terms of number of registered voters. It has about 38,000 voters with Malays constituting about 47%, Chinese 32%, Indians and Orang Asli 20% and 1% respectively
National issues not a concern here
Meanwhile S Sivaraj, Kg Pasir Youth Association president, said the chances of Tapah falling to the hands of the opposition was slim.
“National issues do not carry much weight here. This is a semi-urban constituency. If it was urban then the situation could be different. It will be mission impossible for both PKR and Pakatan to win the Tapah parliamentary seat.
“Of course, Pakatan leaders have run a series of ceramahs in Tapah. But, national issues does not hold water here. The people here have already made up their mind.
They would vote based on the candidate and what we have now is one of the best in terms of service,” added Sivaraj.
“Saravanan often visits the constituency and listens to the people’s grouses. He has also settled some long standing issues here. For example the Tapah Tamil school problem and the construction of a public hall in Tapah.
“These are the issue which touch the peoples heart. So, I feel there is no reason for the people of Tapah to vote him out,” he added. -B Nantha Kumar via FMT