MIC, the grand old party of the Indians, might expect to be rewarded by way of state seats in Penang in the coming state elections.I understand that the MIC is keen on contesting two seats in Penang, namely Seri Delima and Perai, which are currently held by Syerleena Abdul Rashid and me.
However, whether MIC will be given the seats on the basis of its support for the unity government, that still remains to be seen.
While UMNO might garner some Malay support for the unity government, MCA and MIC are not in a position to mobilise support from the Chinese and Indians respectively.
Both parties have been considerably weakened over the years as a result of dwindling non-Malay support. Today, non-Malays have thrown their weight behind DAP and PKR under Pakatan Harapan (PH).
In this respect, MCA and MIC have no bargaining power predicated on the support of the two ethnic communities.
Barisan Nasional (BN) being part of the unity government might not be the right reason why MCA and MIC must be accorded state seats in Penang.
MIC wants the Perai seat with the Indian voter strength of 35%, one of the highest concentrations of Indian voters in the country. It might have been traditionally contested by MIC, but MIC lost to me in the last three elections. In fact, my majority had increased from 5,000 votes in 2008, to 7,000 votes in 2013 and 9,000 votes in 2018. I wonder how MIC can claim that Perai is their traditional seat when they have consecutively lost to DAP in the last state elections.
Being a member of the unity government might not be the right reason why the MIC should be accorded seats. If only they can demonstrate that they can deliver the Indian votes. But unfortunately, Indian votes in Perai and other constituencies are already intact for PH. Furthermore, Seri Delima on the island part of Penang is not even MIC’s traditional seat. MIC has no traditional or otherwise claim on the state seat just because a DAP Indian candidate had contested there before.
Even if state seats are not given to the MIC, the party must take stock of the past and present to ascertain why it failed to champion the rights of the Indian community. It had state and parliamentary seats in the past, but where did the party go wrong in providing an effective representation for the poor and marginalised Indian community?
Anyway, I certainly have no animosity towards MIC or the MCA and it must be made known that they are free to ask for any seats in the coming state elections. – May 30, 2023
Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy is the DAP state assemblyman for Perai. He is also Deputy Chief Minister II of Penang.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.
Main pic credit: Portal Berita RTM