Making way for the president

MIC president G.Palanivel wants to contest in the safe Cameron Highlands seat while incumbent Devamany has to step aside and contest in Sungai Siput

Humayun Kabir, FMT

MIC vice president S K Devamany seems to be the unwilling candidate chosen by party president G Palanivel to contest in Sungai Siput in the coming general election.

A party insider confirmed to FMT today that Devamany is MIC candidate who has also been endorsed by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Devamany has been reportedly reluctant to step down from MIC’s safe parliamentary seat of Cameron Highlands which he had won for two terms, to contest in Sungai Siput.

However, Palanivel flexed his political muscles and is set to contest in Cameron Highlands while sending  Devamany to Sungai Siput.

Devamany could not be contacted while his office staff declined to comment on this speculation, saying only Premier Najib knows the chosen one.

Since 1974, former party boss S Samy Vellu had kept an iron grip for 34 years on this MIC strong hold but lost the parliamentary seat to Parti Socialis Malaysia Dr Michael D Jayakumar in 2008 .

After Samy’s defeat, a few MIC leaders were reluctant to contest in Sungai Siput.

Among those were MIC information chief and Samy’s son S Vell Paari who cited that he does not want to step into his father’s shoes but had kept his options open to serve the party in other ways.

Another reluctant candidate was MIC secretary-general S Murugesan whose wife is believed to be a native of Sungai Siput but the ambitious MIC leader had set his political sights on Selangor .

Another name mentioned was fomer party state chief S Veerasingam but he was sidelined by the new state chief.

Another party hopeful was former deputy minister T Murugiah who had set his sights on this former party stronghold but party veterans were unwilling to give this new kid a chance.

In the Sungai Siput parliamentary constituency, the Chinese voters hold the majority percentage with 40.2 while Malays form 36.3% and Indians 22.6%.

Sungai Siput has two state seats of Jalong and Lintang and in the 2008 polls, the former seat was won by DAP Leong Mee Meng while the latter seat was retained by Umno incumbent Ahmad Pakeh Adam.

Meanwhile, MIC’s proposed party candidates for the other parliamentary seat of Tapah is incumbent M Saravanan while the state seat of Hutang Melintang may go to state party deputy chief and state speaker R Ganesan.