Malaysian Indian Congress chief optimistic of victory

Singapore, May 2 (IANS) Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) president Datuk Seri G. Panivel is optimistic of winning the Cameron Highlands parliamentary seat in the Malaysian general elections to be held May 5.

Panivel has been laying the groundwork for a victory in that large hill station in the Malaysian state of Pahang in anticipation of being named as candidate by the country’s ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.

The major constituents of the BN are the MIC, Malaysian Chinese Association and the United Malays National Organisation.

“I have had regular meetings with various communities here, including NGOs and temple, church and mosque officials,” Panivel told The Star newspaper.

The Indian-origin leader is in a four-cornered contest in the Cameron Highlands seat.

Expressing hope of winning the seat, Panivel is banking on support from the Orang Asli or the indigenous people of Malaysia who have a large presence in the constituency.

“The Orang Asli will remain loyal to BN. They really appreciate what we have done for them and are like our fixed deposit,” he was quoted as saying.

“Their undivided support for the coalition has enabled BN to win in Cameron Highlands in every general election.”

According to Panivel, there has been a major transformation in the lives of the Orang Asli people due to more development projects and increased allocation from the government.

“Now, we see a major transformation in their lives as some of them have become doctors, lawyers and engineers,” added Palanivel.

Earlier, in a meeting with residents of Blue Valley Estate, a major tea plantation in the Cameron Highlands, Panivel assured them that he would solve all their problems.

While president of the Blue Valley unit of the MIC, S. Cheran, expressed hope that Panivel would make a good MP, another resident, G. Nadarajah, pointed out that Panivel, who is a minister in the country’s prime minister’s department, had made available 700,000 ringgits for the local Sri Maha Mariamman temple and another two million ringgits for a Tamil school.

The Cameron Highlands seat was won by another MIC member, S.K. Devamany, in the last general elections in 2008. He is, however, contesting from another seat this time.

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