GEORGE TOWN: A senior DAP leader has questioned the basis of MIC be given state seats in Penang in the upcoming state election
Dr P. Ramasamy said MIC, the grand old party of the Indians, might expect to be rewarded by way of state seats in Penang in the state polls.
He said he was made to understand that the MIC was keen on contesting two seats in Penang, namely Prai and Seri Delima, currently being held by him and Syerleena Abdul Rashid.
"Whether the MIC will be given the seats on the basis of its support for the unity government remains to be seen.
"While Umno might garner some Malay support for the unity government, the MCA and the MIC are not in a position to mobilise support from the Chinese and Indians respectively. Both parties have been considerably weakened over the years as a result of the dwindling of non-Malay support.
"Today, non-Malays have thrown their weight behind DAP and PKR under Pakatan Harapan.
"In this respect, MCA and MIC have no bargaining power predicated on the support of the two ethnic communities," he said in his latest Facebook post.
According to the Penang Deputy Chief Minister II, just because Barisan Nasional was part of the unity government, it might not be the right reason as to why the MCA and MIC must be accorded state seats in Penang.
He said even if these pliant parties were given the seats, there was the question of delivery of political support
"MIC wants the Prai seat with the Indian voter strength of 35 per cent, one of the highest concentrations of Indian voters in the country.
"It may have been traditionally contested by the MIC, but the party lost to me in the last three elections. In fact, my majority had increased from 5,000 votes in 2008 to 7,000 votes in 2013 and 9,000 votes in 2018.
"I wonder how the MIC can claim that Prai is its traditional seat when they have lost to DAP consecutively in the last general elections.
"Being a member of the unity government may not be the right reason why the MIC should be accorded seats. If only they can demonstrate that they can deliver the Indian votes," he added, noting that unfortunately, Indian votes in Prai and other constituencies were already intact for PH.
Seri Delima on the island part of Penang is not even MIC's traditional seat, Ramasamy pointed out.
He noted that just because a DAP Indian candidate had contested before, MIC had no traditional or otherwise claim on the state seat.
He said even if state seats were not given to the MIC, the party must take stock of the past and present to ascertain why it failed to champion the rights of the Indian community.
"It had state and parliamentary seats in the past, but where did the party go wrong in providing an effective representation for the poor and marginalised Indian community?
"Anyway, I have no animosity towards the MIC or the MCA, they are free to ask for seats in the coming state elections," he said.
Last week, Penang PH chairman Chow Kon Yeow revealed that state MCA and MIC had begun requesting seats to contest in the upcoming state elections during a recent meeting between state PH and BN.
He had said that unlike the previous meeting which was only attended by Umno representatives from BN, the recent meeting was also attended by representatives from MCA and MIC.
Penang has a total of 40 state seats. In the 2018 general elections, PH won 37 seats, when Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) was still part of PH.
BN won two seats while Pas won the Penaga seat.
Bersatu currently holds four seats — Seberang Jaya, Sungai Acheh, Teluk Bahang and Bertam. However, the four assemblymen were evicted from the state legislative assembly last month after it passed a motion to force them to vacate their seats in accordance with the state's anti-hopping law.
Chow had said previously that the four seats would go to the respective incumbent parties.