GE14: Vell Paari wants to contest in Sungai Siput, leaves decision to Subra

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 10 Apr 2018

PETALING JAYA: MIC treasurer-general S. Vell Paari (pic) is keen on contesting the Sungai Siput seat if he is chosen as a candidate in GE14.   

Stressing that such a decision is at the discretion of party president Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, Vell Paari told The Star on Tuesday: “I am waiting for the party president’s decision. But I am prepared to run.”   

If chosen as a candidate, he would like to run in Sungai Siput, a seat held by his father Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, from 1973 to 2008.   

“I would prefer Sungai Siput. It is my father’s old seat, and for the last 10 years, it has suffered under the Opposition. When I go around the area, people tell me they regret voting my father out.”   

Vell Paari did concede that he respected incumbent MP Parti Sosialis Malaysia’s Dr Micheal Jeyakumar.   

“I am not saying Jeyakumar is a bad man, but there was much more development during my father’s time.  

"With Jeyakumar being an Opposition MP, there is only so much you can do. You can’t say ‘my role is just to talk in Parliament.’ Maybe in urban seats, you can, but rural areas need that extra push for some development.”   

Vell Paari feels that Barisan Nasional will do better in GE14 than it did in 2013 and 2008.   

“I think Barisan will do a lot better, I estimate an additional 20-25 seats over the 140 seats won in the last election. We are looking towards regaining our two-thirds majority.”   

He said that PAS will play a significant spoiler role that enables Barisan to garner more victories.   

“Their voters are very hard core -at least 15 to 20% support in many seats. This vote was going to the Opposition, but now is taken out of that bloc. Going on their own, they will affect the election and most likely help Barisan.”   

Vell Paari also believes that the Indian community will throw its weight behind Barisan.   

“In 2008, with the whole Hindraf rally thing, Indian votes for Barisan collapsed. But in 2013, it was back over 40%.   

"Now with the higher direct engagement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who is sincere in implementing programmes to empower the Indian community, the support is genuine. I believe we can get 60 to 70% of the Indian vote.”

As for the MIC itself, Vell Paari is predicting a return of six MP seats.

“As far as we are concerned, we are going for nine seats. But we can be considered strong bets in three places where we are incumbents - Hulu Selangor (Datuk P. Kamalanathan), Segamat (Dr Subramaniam) and Tapah (Datuk M. Saravanan) - as well as maybe three others.”

“The party is united. I don’t think we will see a comeback from (ex-president) Datuk Seri G. Palanivel.

"There is no more internal divide in the MIC. Our machinery has always been working. We are always ready on the ground. The MIC doesn’t just come alive for election.”

MIC was happy with the recent redelineation process, said Vell Paari. “Even if there are fewer areas with Indians, in these places, the Indian vote base will make a difference.

"Again as the Malaysian population grows and our Indian vote diminishes, that too will work in the direction of a single party that looks after the interests of all.”

Some have said that the race-based political party system is an obsolete one, but Vell Paari still thinks there is room for it. 

“Maybe one day, race-based parties will vanish. In about eight to 10 years, maybe Barisan could be one party. But for community development, it’s still necessary.   

"During the Dr Mahathir-era, races were played against each other, which really affected the civil society, but I think the old traditions are coming back together.”   

Vell Paari said his father does not feel conflicted by the split between his old political allies.   

“As far as he is concerned, he’s retired. He is loyal to Barisan and Najib, but still has respect for his former boss.”
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