Recently, while speaking to the press Samy Vellu hinted that is prepared to contest in Sungai Siput provided his candidature is endorsed by Prime Minister Najib.
In an exclusive interview with Nam Naadu Tamil daily yesterday (24th March) Samy Vellu said he has been receiving good response from Sungai Siput voters especially Chinese voters since he has started his work in the constituency about 3 months ago.
“People come and tell me we will vote if you are the candidate. Even the Chinese voters are coming to tell me that they will support me. But I cannot make the decision” Samy Vellu said in that interview.
“Samy Vellu better candidate that Devamany”
Although the candidate for Sungai Siput has not been announced yet, it is generally speculated that Devamany, current MP for Cameron Highlands has been named by party president Palanivel as the candidate for Sungai Siput.
However, in order to win back the constituency again from the opposition, Najib has appointed Samy Vellu as the BN coordinator for Sungai Siput. Since his appointment Samy Vellu has been visiting the constituency to meet the voters as though he himself is the candidate.
Some MIC branch chairmen on various occasions have voiced in Tamil dailies that Samy Vellu should be fielded in the seat again as he would be best choice for BN to wrest back the seat from Jeyakumar.
MIC sources also said that Samy Vellu despite his age would give “his best fight ever” to win back the seat as it would mean a lot to him. By winning back the seat again he would be able to redeem his pride.
His defeat in Sungai Siput in 2008 also paved the way for him to step down as MIC president, a position he tightly controlled for more than 30 years.
MIC sources from Sungai Siput said that it would be a difficult task to win back the Sungai Siput from Jeyakumar but the best candidate for BN is still Samy Vellu, as the voters there now appreciate his past services over a period of 34 years.
“Devamany is still new to this constituency and has to work hard to know the ground but it would be much easier to convince the voters if Samy Vellu is the candidate as he has a track-record. In 2008 many Indian voters voted against Samy Vellu out of emotions over Hindraf but today they are more rational and are appreciative of what Samy Vellu did for the constituency. Coupled with the pro-active approach taken by Najib towards Indian community, the Indian voters are expected to come back in droves to seal their support for Samy Vellu” – one local MIC branch chairman said, declining to disclose his identity.
Jeyakumar’s PSM position in Pakatan, a set back for opposition
Even opposition supporters in Sungai Siput claim that many voters are unhappy with Michael Jeyakumar’s style of politics. Voters appreciate his services in the constituency but are not receptive towards his approach when comes to grants and “hand outs”.
Jeyakumar’s insistence to contest in the seat again under PSM ticket is also not well received by Pakatan’s component parties and that tussle is already working against Jeyakumar. In 2008 he contested under the PKR banner as his party PSM was not registered then.
Now, that the party has been registered, it would create lot of confusion if he still contests under the PKR ticket. This will confuse the voters and would ultimately benefit the BN candidate.
“But the BN candidate for Sungai Siput must be of such a stature to exploit the current situation. If Devamany is the candidate voters will start comparing ‘untested’ Devamany against ‘tested’ Jeyakumar. Whereas if Samy Vellu is the candidate such comparisons will not be there and it would be greatly advantageous to BN”, another MIC source pointed out.