Tussle for the Sungai Siput parliamentary seat at the upcoming general election is expected to be close, no matter who the Barisan Nasional (BN) nominates as it’s candidate, incumbent Dr Michael Jeyakumar predicted.
“Pakatan (Rakyat) has put in a lot of effort for the people of Sungai Siput and the voters are aware of this. A large number of them know what I have done for my people”, he told FMT in an interview.
However, he said the BN holds an upper hand when it came to finances as it can throw-in freebies to attract votes.
“BN has lots of freebies to offer, however, throwing freebies to the people shows how desperate they are to win the hearts of the people.
“People today are aware of the happenings around them and they can differentiate who is actually working for them,” he added.
Dr Jeyakumar carved a name for himself at the 2008 general election when he knocked out the then MIC president S Samy Vellu by a 1,800 vote majority.
The win ended Samy Vellu’s reign in the constituency, which was held by the former MIC chief from 1979. The defeat in 2008 also paved way for Samy Vellu to retire from active politics after nearly 30 years in power.
Dr Jeyakumar shot to fame again after he and six other Parti Sosialis Malayia (PSM) comrades were arrested under the Emergency (Public Order and Crime Prevention) Ordinance June 2011, due to their support for the Bersih 2.0 rally calling for electoral reforms.
They were subsequently released but the arrest and detention in itself had made Dr Jeyakumar enjoy a cult-like following not only from his supporters in PSM but also the opposition front.
Although, the opposition pact made up of PAS, DAP and PKR have yet to allow PSM into the grouping, they enjoy a good relationship. In the last election, Dr Jeyakumar won the seat under the PKR banner because PSM is yet to be registered.
However, in this election, PSM has requested Pakatan Rakyat to allow the use of its own logo. The opposition front is however yet to give its nod to the proposal.
Commenting on PSM’s logo issue with Pakatan he said: “We are still discussing if PSM could maintain the logo.”
“PSM has brought up the issue with Pakatan. We will have to wait and see what they decide.
“There are lots of challenges in promoting a socialist party in Malaysia. They have been perceived negatively by the public…we are even said to be against faith and religion. This is utter nonsense,” he said.
PSM will contest the Sungai Siput parliamentary and the Semenyih state seats in Selangor in the upcoming 13th general election.
The Sungai Siput seat, with about 51,000 voters, has traditionally been contested by the MIC president under the BN banner. However, current MIC president G Palanivel is unlikely to contest the seat, breaking away from tradition.
Speculation is rife that MIC vice president SK Devamany would be nominated by the ruling BN to fight for the seat. Palanivel is expected to replace Devamany at the Cameron Highlands parliamentary constituency.