Monday, May 27, 2024

Will Ramasamy’s Urimai have better luck at home turf with soon-to-call Sungai Bakap by-election?

Focus Malaysia:

Will Ramasamy’s Urimai have better luck at home turf with soon-to-call Sungai Bakap by-election?

By Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy

IN THE coming Sungai Bakap state by-election, the United Rights of Malaysian Party (Urimai) will again urge voters especially Indians to reject the Pakatan Harapan (PH)-led coalition.

Following the death of state assemblyman Nor Zamri Latiff on Friday (May 24), a by-election will be soon held.

Zamri who was also the Nibong Tebal PAS chief had diabetes and hypertension before he was admitted to the intensive care unit of the Seberang Jaya Hospital a month back.

He had won the state seat in the 2023 state polls with a majority of 1,563 votes against the PH candidate Nur Hidayah Che Rose.

The Sunga Bakap constituency consists of Malays at 61%, Chinese (22%) and Indians (17%).

Like the recently held Kuala Kubu Baharu (KKB) by-election, the Indians will have pivotal role in determining the winner of the Sungai Bakap by-election.

The opposition Perikatan Nasional (PN) pact stands a good chance to win Sungai Bakap which falls under the bigger Nibong Tebal parliamentary constituency which is helmed by Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek because it boasts a Malay majority electorate.

However as in the case of the KKB polls, this cannot be taken for granted. There is a possibility of the ruling government using public funds and government machinery to turn the tide in its favour.

KKB’s excperience

It must be remembered that in the August 2023 state election, the late Zamri’s majority was not a big one. Even with a Malay majority, there is no guarantee that the seat would go PN’s way.

However, this time around, PN could win with a bigger majority because of the dissatisfaction of Indian voters in the constituency.

Indian dissatisfaction with the PH-led government is a national phenomenon. In the last state elections in August 2023, a significant portion of Indian voters moved away from supporting the PH-led coalition.

In the recent KKB polls, only less than 50% of the overall 18% of Indians turned up to vote. While the majority of those who turned up supported the PH/DAP candidate, there were protest votes against PH in favour of independents and PN candidates.

Thus, it is my estimation that only 35% of those Indians who turned up voted for the PH/DAP candidate. Moreover, voter turnout is normally lower for by-elections in comparison to general elections.

Under normal circumstances, Indian voter turnout for KKB polls should have been around 60%. But the actual voter turnout was less than 50%.

Urimai’s call for Indians not to vote for the PH/DAP candidate could have resulted in low voter turnout whether this was due to boycott of the polls or Indians simply didn’t turn up remains to be seen.

In the coming SB by-election, Urimai will be active as was the case with the KKB polls. Urimai will take an independent stand in urging the voters especially Indians not to vote for the PH candidate. It will be same message that was effectively delivered in the KKB polls.

By-election strategies

In the coming Sungai Bakap by-election, Urimai will highlight the humiliation and suffering of the Indian community in the country.

The discrimination of Indians in the public sector, the ethnic discrimination of Indian students to the matriculation and public universities will be pointed out.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s religious conversion of an Hindu youth was an insult to the majority Hindu community. Not to speak of Anwar calling Indians “Keling”, asking them not be jealous of the financial assistance to the Malays – and not forgetting – the non-appointment of an Indian Tamil minister in the cabinet.

Source: Malay Mail (May 30, 2022)

In Penang, the state government led by PH coalition has yet to resolve the housing problem of former workers of the Sungai Kecil estate in the Sungai Bakap state constituency.

Out of six acres of land acquired by the state government, 23 existing families are entitled to free low-cost housing. The land can accommodate about 120 houses. I suggest that the Indian estate workers who had been displaced should be given houses at a nominal rate.

Although the state government had allocated about four acres for the 29th Tamil school in the Butterworth area, the Education Ministry is dragging its feet on transferring the license of a closed down Tamil school in the Kulim area of Kedah.

This is something known to Fadlina, the non-performing Education Minister. I still remember that I had mentioned this to Anwar when he was in Penang some time back.

Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy

Employment for Indians in Penang – both in the private and public sectors – is serious matter in the state. The policy on balanced employment in the state has more or less been abandoned by the present state government.

Qualified Indians face the dim prospect of employment opportunities in the state. Indian businesses activities are being targeted for no other reason than they had cordial relationship with me in the past when I was in the state government.

The more than 100-year-old Waterfall Cafe near the Penang Hill is being targeted for removal by the state authorities. Even the owner’s jeep service has been cancelled by the overzealous Penang Hill Corporation.

Indians in the state face numerous problems to engage in entrepreneurial and business activities. It is not that Indians lack the talent or know-how, it is just that they seem to be ethnically “wrong”.

In the course of the upcoming Sungai Bakap by-election, Urimai will spell out in detail the sufferings of the Indian community not only in the state but at the national as a whole.

Unless and until the Indians rise up to say no to the hypocritical PH-led government, they will not be accorded the respect and dignity they deserve.

In the absence of Urimai during the KKB by-election, there would not have been the RM75 mil housing project for estate workers who had been awaiting for the project for 26 years. The question is why the sudden announcement?

Urimai might be considered as a new and insignificant political party but the KKB by-election proved otherwise. – May 26, 2024

Former DAP stalwart and Penang chief minister II Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy is chairman of the United Rights of Malaysian Party (Urimai) interim council.

1 comment:

  1. Ramasamy is currently just an angry troublemaker. He is no benefitting the Indian community at all.

    His brand of politics needs to be rejected and put him to pasture.