Over the last 10 days, the MIC’s election machinery bulldozed its way into the four estates in the Bagan Pinang constituency and appeared to be holding the “Indian bastion” from slipping into the opposition hands.
MIC president Datuk Seri S.Samy Vellu said the MIC wanted to keep its pledge to deliver as many Indian votes as possible to the Barisan Nasional (BN) in the Oct 11 Bagan Pinang state by-election.
He said that since nomination day last Saturday, almost 1,000 party members, including those from the Youth, Wanita, Puteri and Putera wings had “literally camped” at the predominantly Indian populated estates.
“We have maintained our position in the estates even before nomination day and have assured the Indian voters (in the estates) that the government will continue to bring changes and progress to them,” he said after concluding another six straight hours of campaigning in Bagan Pinang Tuesday night.
Bagan Pinang, which is the Teluk Kemang parliamentary constituency, has 30 per cent non-Malay votes.
Twenty per cent or 2,834 of the voters are Indians and are mostly concentrated in the four estates — Bradwell, Atherthon, Siliau and Sua Betong — and 10 per cent or 1,498 are Chinese scattered in the constituency.
The Malays account for 62 per cent or about 8,500 of the voters, including postal voters.
Samy Vellu said his confidence in getting the Indian voters’ support for the (BN) candidate would be further strengthened by Human Resources Minister and MIC vice-president Datuk Dr. S.Subramaniam’s scheduled announcement tomorrow on his (Dr Subramaniam’s) meeting with officials of Sime Darby which own the four estates.
Dr Subramaniam had said that he would announce details of his discussions with the plantation giant last Monday on the solutions to many of the estate workers’ woes.
Samy Vellu who is leading the MIC charge in Bagan Pinang, admitted that the Indian voters were not only concerned with developments but also wanted their rights to be protected by the government.
“We have held several discussions with the residents in the estates and they are happy with the initiatives being taken by our prime minister.
“They are very clear now. They know for a fact that the government has taken steps to bring progress to the Indian community and that it can only continue if the BN is given a stronger mandate,” he said.
Samy Vellu said other MIC leaders like deputy president Datuk G.Palanivel and Dr Subramaniam, who have also been campaigning daily, had managed to “break the barrier” with the Indian voters since the last general election where many of them had supported the PAS candidate.
“The environment and mood among the Indian voters is now different compared with the last general election,” he said.
He said the MIC expected a big turnout at the party’s Deepavali open house tomorrow at 8pm at the Sua Betong estate which would also be grced by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and other top BN leaders.