Indian party nominee to contest Malaysian by-poll

Thursday, April 15, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR - A Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) candidate was Thursday fielded in a parliamentary by-election by the ruling coalition, but party chief S. Samy Vellu was denied his choice of candidate.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, who also heads the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN), signaled his choice for MIC’s information chief P. Kamalanathan to contest Hulu Selangor parliamentary seat in Selangor state.

Vellu’s choice of G. Palanivel, who held the seat for many years, was not picked by Razak.

The by-election is April 25.

Deputy Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, who made the announcement after talking to Najib currently in Washington, said there were reports from the field against Palanivel, who had lost the seat in 2008.

“The choice was based on what the people in Hulu Selangor wanted. They wanted change,” Yassin said.

Kamalanathan, 44, is a public relations manager by profession.

Indians form 19.8 percent of the constituency of 65,000 voters that has majority Malays and Chinese.

The opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat Wednesday fielded Zaid Ibrahim, 59, a former law minister.

Ibrahim is considered a likely successor to Anwar Ibrahim, the controversial former deputy prime minister who heads the alliance.

The Star reported that at one stage, Vellu was even ready to return the seat to be contested by any other BN constituent, if Palanivel was not fielded.

Indians, a bulk of them Tamils, form nearly seven percent of Malaysia’s multi-ethnic population of 28 million.

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