PETALING JAYA: There seems to be an intense battle for the Sungai Siput parliamentary constituency. But the battle is not between two opposing parties but within the same party – MIC – on who should be the candidate to contest the seat, which has about 51,000 voters.
The Sungai Siput seat, traditionally contested by the MIC, is witnessing a tussle between former president S Samy Vellu and vice-president SK Devamany, who apparently has been endorsed by the party, and Barisan Nasional chairman Najib Tun Razak, to contest the seat in the upcoming 13th general election.
Samy Vellu, who was appointed the seat’s BN coordinator earlier this year, meanwhile, is staking his claim on the constituency, declaring himself a “winnable candidate” for Sungai Siput.
“The rivalry may be a disadvantage to the MIC. If Samy contests the seat, Devamany’s supporters might not be happy and its vice versa,” Jeyakumar told FMT today.
“It will affect their [MIC and BN] campaigns and this will create a negative effect on the people’s mind. The voters might assume that the party is not ready.”
“Samy’s return will also show that the MIC is yet to transform, as a former leader is being brought back. It will also show that the party is incapable of rejuvenation,” he added.
When asked whether Samy Vellu or Devamany would be a “winnable candidate” in Sungai Siput, Jeyakumar was diplomatic, saying both were good as Samy Vellu was a former long-serving MP while Devamany has younger voters behind him.
“Either way it is a tough fight for us in Sungai Siput. We are hoping for a victory as we do not use racial issues in campaigning.”
“We do not play racial politics. Even my speech in Parliament, I distribute it in several languages for my people to understand better,” said Jeyakumar.
However, he said a bigger victory this time around would prove that he had done a good job during his tenure as a Sungai Siput MP.
Jeyakumar became a giant killer at the 2008 general election, defeating Samy Vellu, who held the Sungai Siput seat from the 1970s to 2008, with a 1,800-vote majority.
“We do not throw money to win and it is solely based on our achievements and delivery to our constituency,” he added.
Palani rules out Samy
However in the latest development, MIC president G Palanivel told Bernama that Samy Vellu would not be a candidate in the gneral election
“Datuk Seri Samy Vellu has been working hard in Sungai Siput to garner support from the people…but he will not be a candidate,” Palanivel said in a text messge to Bernama today.
The Sungai Siput parliamentary constituency with over 51,000 voters is made up of 40.2% Chinese voters, 36.3% Malays and 22.6% Indians.