The Parliament seats requested are Segamat, Hulu Selangor, Cameron Highlands and Tapah. Ironically all the seats are currently held by MIC under Barisan Nasional and these are the only 4 seats won by MIC out of 9 parliament seats allocated to them.
So, Waythamurthy’s aim is crystal clear: to defeat MIC in all their respective parliament seats using the Pakatan Harapan banner thereby claiming that Hindraf is the rightful replacement for MIC as the Indian based party in Pakatan Harapan government, in the event, they form the next government.
Waytha himself is personally interested in contesting in Cameron Highlands. Since the seat was contested by DAP in 2013 general election, Tun Mahathir is said to be in talks with DAP leadership whether they would give up the seat in favour of Hindraf.
The other 3 seats requested by Waytha namely, Segamat, Hulu Selangor and Tapah were contested by PKR candidates in 2013.
Although it is yet to be known whether Pakatan would heed to Hindraf’s requests, Hindraf itself is said to lacking the right candidates to take on the mighty MIC-BN combinations, in the seats, they are requesting.
Except for Waythamurthy, there are no known or popular faces in Hindraf to be fielded as candidates for parliamentary and state assembly seats.
PKR & DAP Indian leaders unhappy with Hindraf’s entry
Although Tun Mahathir has given a warm reception to Hindraf, it is believed that the Indian leaders from DAP and PKR are unhappy with Waythamurthy’s entry into Pakatan as their own prominence would be thereby diminished.
DAP leaders especially Penang Deputy Chief Minister Prof P.Ramasamy has always been critical about Waytha’s moves in the past and at times they were at loggerheads over several issues.
There are also concerns whether Hindraf would be an asset or end-up as a burden for Pakatan. Hindraf’s radical religious approach could be a campaign factor for UMNO to keep the Malay voters from swaying to Pakatan.
Will the Indian community support Hindraf?
On the other hand, Hindraf’s popularity today is at its lowest level within the Indian community since its inception, due to their internal squabbles and wavering political stands.
Hindraf emerged and was riding on Indian community’s antagonism against Barisan Nasional government and MIC over the demolishing of Hindu temples. It was BN government that jailed 5 key Hindraf leaders under ISA in 2007 and Waytha himself stayed away from Malaysia during the critical period living in Britain in self-imposed exile.
However, upon his return, just before GE-13, Waytha supported BN and Najib’s leadership and even accepted the post of Deputy Minister in Najib’s government. Barely six months later, Waytha resigned from his Senate and Deputy Minister positions alleging Najib’s government failed to honour the Memorandum of Understanding they signed, which was the basis for Hindraf to join and support BN.
In the past, Hindraf and Waythamurthy were also critical about Mahathir’s era often criticising him for marginalising the Indian community. Today, the same Hindraf is seeking an alliance with Pakatan Harapan under the same Mahathir.
It is doubtful whether the Indian community will give their support to Hindraf’s candidates for their wavering stands especially at a time when Najib has taken several initiatives such as Malaysian Indian Blue print and upliftment of Tamil schools to bring about drastic transformation and progress within the Indian community.