Malaysian party says all’s well with Indian supporters (Lead)

January 4th, 2009 - 5:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Jan 4 (IANS) The main Malaysian opposition party is denying that the Indian community is upset with it.The Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) staged a rally of its supporters from among the Indian community here to show that the ethnic group still backed its leader Anwar Ibrahim.

Indian activists supporting the party leadership gave speeches in Tamil proclaiming their support to PKR Saturday, The Star newspaper reported Sunday.

“PKR is not a race-based party. It is a party for all races,” PKR secretary general Salehuddin Hashim said to applause from those present.

He said differences, if any, between the leadership and its members can be settled amicably.

“The (ruling party) had not been able to help the Indian community for 50 years, that’s why the Indian supporters are with us,” Hashim said.

PKR is the leading constituent of the opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat that wrested 88 parliament seats and control of four of 13 states in elections in March last year.

Ethnic Indians, who number over two million and form nearly eight percent of Malaysia’s 28 million population, were perceived to have swung radically towards the opposition.

Differences came to the surface when S. Manikavasagam, lawmaker from Kapar and a PKR supreme council member, resigned as the party’s Selangor state unit deputy liaison chairman, complaining that the party had not given enough support to the Indian community.

Another reason that has upset the Indians was the dropping of PKR deputy secretary general P. Jenapala from the post after it was found that he had been declared bankrupt.

Jenapala later said he would not leave the party and would meet Anwar to discuss issues involving Indians.

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