Malaysian Indians come out in support of ruling coalition

Singapore, May 1 (IANS) Ahead of the general elections in Malayasia, many Malaysian Indians have come out in support of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition in the country.

Indian community leaders and the general public have given credit to the Barisan Nasional for providing Malaysian Indians with shelter, clothing and education assistance, the New Straits Times reported Wednesday.

The Barisan Nasional is mainly a coalition of the country’s three largest race-based political parties — the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) and the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA).

According to Perak Hindu Youth Organisation adviser R. Anbalagan, the Barisan Nasional, through its actions, has shown that it understood the problems of the Indian community.

“Financial aid has been allocated to us under the budget as well as through other agencies,” he was quoted as saying.

“This has endeared BN to Indian voters. I can see more Indians, including youth, giving their support to BN.”

Malaysian Public Service Society chairman Andrew Raju was quoted as saying that older Indian voters are grateful for the benefits they have reaped under the BN government, “such as pension and healthcare”.

V.T. Naidu, a 62-year-old retired policeman, said it was because of the opportunities provided by the BN government that his son has become an engineer and his daughter also an engineer.

According to the report, the Indian community’s support for the ruling coalition has grown in the state of Selangor since the last general elections in 2008.

Ramesh Rao, president of the Pertubuhan Minda dan Sosial Prihatin, said in contrast to another party that ruled the state, the BN government “never issued notices to stop temple bells from ringing or demolished Hindu temples”.

In the state of Negri Sembilan, too, Indian support for the ruling coaltion is growing.

Jeya Balan, chairman of Negri Sembilan Hindu Sangam chairman for Taman Templer in Seremban, said Indians saw BN’s “clear direction and agenda for the community”.

“The support is there. The political tsunami of 2008 has taught us not to place our hopes on parties that do not deliver,” he was quoted as saying.

General elections will be held in Malaysia May 5. Ethnic Indians comprise a little over seven percent of Malaysia’s total population of nearly 30 million.

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