Perak BN and MIC on collision course

The row is over the selection of candidates and allocation of seats for the coming general election. 

B Nantha Kumar, FMT

The Perak Barisan Nasional leadership is said to be on a direct collision course with MIC president G Palanivel over candidates and seat allocations in the state for the largest Indian-based party in the country.

Sources revealed that while Palanivel is adamant on retaining several party veterans as candidates for the upcoming general election, the state BN leadership led by Menteri Besar Zambry Abdul Kadir wants MIC to put forth new and winnable candidates, especially young leaders.

Zambry is unhappy that Palanivel, who is also Perak MIC chief, had insisted that several “expired” leaders be given state seats to contest at the 13th general election, due in the next four months, sources revealed.

A party leader, who did not want to be named, told FMT that Palanivel’s “stubbornness” may ruin MIC’s chances of winning seats in the state.

“I will not be surprised if Perak MIC repeat its dismal performance as in the 2008 election,” he said.

At the last election MIC lost all four state seats – Hutan Melintang, Behrang, Pasir Panjang and Sungkai – contested under the BN banner.

“This time around, speculation is that MIC would swap two seats with other BN component parties. MIC will give up the Behrang and Pasir Panjang seats and instead take up Buntong and Trong state constituencies,” said the source.

The party insider claimed that Palanivel was willing to take up any seat offered by the state BN, but was adamant that the candidates must be chosen by him.

The MIC chief’s stand to retain some veteran leaders as candidates has irked not only state BN leaders but also party grassroots members.

“Palanivel insisted on fielding veterans like State Legislative Assembly speaker R Ganesan and party veteran KR Naidu. This has not gone down well with Zambry and the state BN leadership,” said the source.

The source said while these two leaders were famous and popular, they did not command support of voters in the state.