Malaysian PM opts for Indian party’s nominee in by-poll

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR - A Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) nominee will contest a key parliamentary by-election, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has announced.

The Hulu Selangor parliamentary by-election will be contested by the MIC because the seat belonged to the party, Razak said while rejecting claims from his own party, United Malays National Organisation (UMNO).

Najib said that as chairman of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN), he retained the right to decide who the candidate should be “because I want the coalition to win”, The Star newspaper said Thursday.

“If we lose, it’s not the MIC that loses but the Barisan. If we win, both the MIC and Barisan win,” Razak said.

He asked all BN parties to stop speculating and urged them to pool in efforts and resources for the April 25 poll.

Hulu Selangor in Selangor state was held by MIC vice president G. Palanivel, a journalist turned piolitician, since 1991. He lost the seat in March 2008 to an opposition candidate who died recently, causing the by-election.

Ethnic Indians are 19.3 percent of the 64,500 electorate, much less than the ethnic Malays and Chinese.

MIC chief S. Samy Vellu is strongly backing Palanivel’s candidature.

Vellu was quoted by New Straits Times as saying that his party would focus on all ethnic groups to ensure a victory.

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