Ethnic Indians among MCLM candidates for Malaysian poll

(IANS) Several ethnic Indians figure among the candidates nominated by the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) for the 13th general election.

Among them is Sreekant Pillai, noted human rights lawyer and son of well-known journalist M.G.G. Pillai.

The parliamentary poll is actually due in 2013. But Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said last year that they are “round the corner”, triggering speculation about its timing and preparations by various parties and organisations.

Malaysia is home to 2.1 million ethnic Indians, a bulk of them Tamils who settled here during the British era. They form eight percent of a multi-ethnic 28 million Malaysian population.

Launched last October, the MCLM promotes itself as a “third force” in Malaysian politics and seeks to reform the political environment.

Controversial journalist and blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin, detained for his writings, is MCLM chairman.

The body Monday named another ethnic Indian, dentist Nedunchelian Vengu, as a candidate along with former All Women’s Action Society president Haslinah Yacob.

A private practitioner, Nedunchelian Vengu, 42, served as the Malaysian Private Dental Practitioners Association chief for three terms.

National Human Rights Society president Malik Imtiaz Sarwar and Sreekant Pillai had earlier been named as MCLM’s first two candidates for the next general election.

Sreekant said he had chosen to be independent because “the current government has nothing more it can offer to the people and the existing parties are not doing what the rakyat (people) wants”.

“My father taught me that there is nothing wrong in being idealistic, to stand for what you believe in and always search for the truth.

“That is what I am doing now,” The Star quoted Sreekant, 37, as saying.