Indian community, the kingmaker in Selangor election?

Nearly half of the Indian population in Malaysia lives in Selangor, where the percentage stands at 40%. 

(MalaysiaNow) – Political parties from both sides of the divide have been urged to keep tabs on the Indian vote in Selangor, as state polls loom following the dissolution of the legislative assembly last week.

Speaking to MalaysiaNow, analyst R Paneir Selvam said the Malay vote would be a toss-up among Umno, PAS and Bersatu, while the Chinese vote would likely go en bloc to Pakatan Harapan (PH).

The Indian vote, meanwhile, could swing either way, giving the community a crucial role in determining the winner, he said.

“The Malay parties have to focus on Indian issues such as unemployment, youth involvement in crimes, and government jobs,” he added.

“Racial issues will only demotivate them. We want leaders for all.”

The Indian community was a traditional vote bank for Barisan Nasional (BN) and its component MIC, which was in charge of upholding Indian rights.

The trend continued even as the Reformasi movement in 1998 reached its peak with the sacking of then deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim.

Paneir, of Arunachala Research and Consultancy, said MIC began losing the Indian vote in 2008, and was now struggling to win back the trust of the community.

“Their loyalty was misused, hence the swing to the opposition at the time,” he said.

“MIC failed to recognise the changing mindset, the needs of the Indians and the political landscape. It harped on the same issues, such as Tamil schools and temples.

“The ordinary Indians are simple – they just want to survive.”

While certain issues could be brought up in Kelantan and Terengganu, he said, Selangor would present a different battleground.

Adding that Malay parties would have to use a different approach in the state, he said that “sensitive issues” were no longer a draw for the Indian community as they had been leading up to the 1990s.

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