Is The MIC Destined To Lose By-elections?
The unhappiness towards the government that apparently the Malays are feeling, seems to be one cause. But wait, is that the only reason why the BN is doubtful about the results here? If the Barisan candidate had been instead from Umno Kuala Selangor, will these same Malays who have now an inclination to vote for Keadilan, change their mind?
The dismay felt by the Malays in Ijok is equally shared by the non-Malays too. After years and years of benign neglect by the government of the 'developed' state of Selangor under the leadership of scandal-tainted Mentri Besar Mohd Khir Toyo and his equally notorious predecessors, can you blame the poor sods who live there? These people are not fools. They know very well that the millions upon millions of Ringgit Malaysia Khir Toyo and company are pouring into Ijok now is only because of the by-election and not for altruistic reasons. They resent the fact that these Barisan power-mongers walk in haughtily and straight away distribute bribes with promises of more, while assuming that the grateful residents will cast their votes 'accordingly' on polling day. A sort of electoral quid pro quo.
Add to this general unhappiness, the continued representation of this constituency by the MIC, a party not highly regarded or even liked by the Malays and Chinese and even some Indians. While the Chinese would probably vote for the MIC man rather than contribute to an increase in the already high number of Malays in the State Assembly, the Malay contention is somewhat different. Why should they who are the majority race in Ijok be forced time and again to put up with an Indian rep? Why not allow a Malay, at least this time, to 'properly' represent them? After all they voted for the MIC wakil earlier, and if he died during office then it is not their fault. The Indians have had their turn and at least for the remainder of the term let a Malay be elected to the job. And if Umno still persists in sidelining them in the name of power-sharing, then they will vote for the Malay from Keadilan. In any case precious few of them are willing to be convinced by the assurances of senior Umno leaders that their interests will be looked after by the state government. With Khir Toyo at the helm, as far as they are concerned, that is neither a very convincing argument nor a satisfactory proposition.
In a way, the present predicament of the BN is not unlike the Lunas situation earlier. These pent-up resentments as well as the annoyance at being ignored by the national Umno leaders normally surface at by-elections, especially where a minority party representative stands. They may have nothing against the candidate per se, but racial feelings are sometimes difficult to predict, comprehend or control. If a large number of Malays in mixed constituencies where they have a slight majority start to think on ethnic lines, to the exclusion of all else, then MIC candidates whenever they find themselves in the unenviable position of standing in by-elections, are destined to be defeated every time.
So what can the MIC do to avoid such a dilemma in the future? For a start they have to ensure that their elected representatives are younger and healthier, so that the chances of them meeting their maker before their political term expires becomes very slim. As cynical as it may sound, given the racial composition of the population and the ethnic sentiments prevailing, the only way for the MIC to maintain and keep some power in their hands is not to contribute to the calling of by-elections.
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