Malaysian Indian politician campaigns on wheelchair

March 3rd, 2008 - 1:21 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, March 3 (IANS) Karpal Singh, Malaysia’s most prominent Indian origin politician from the opposition ranks, has a hectic campaigning routine before Saturday’s general elections, despite being bound to his wheelchair. “He may be wheelchair-bound, but Karpal Singh is treated like a rock star wherever he goes,” said a New Straits Times correspondent covering Singh’s campaign trail in George Town.

Singh, 68, heads the multi-ethnic Democratic Action Party (DAP), that has fielded 44 parliamentary and 101 state assembly candidates in the 12th general elections. Among them is his son Govind Singh Deo.

Another report said Singh’s DAP is confident of winning in national capital Kuala Lumpur, but in the multi-cornered contests that have ensued, the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition is expected to do well.

Singh, arriving at a market and food court in a modified white Toyota Alphard, was assisted by a DAP member and the local party candidate.

“Karpal was instantly recognised by the traders and patrons. And he did not have to say much. He just said: ‘Please support DAP’. Whenever he could, he shook hands with the people.

“Many were quick to extend a hand to the DAP veteran as though he was an old friend,” the newspaper said.

Singh and his assembly running mate S.N. Rayer ran into their respective rivals of the BN.

Koay Kar Huah, contesting against Singh for the Bukit Gelugor parliamentary seat, and Loh Nam Hooi for the Seri Delima seat, had arrived at the food court earlier for their campaigning.

“All four quickly shook hands and exchanged pleasantries - a sign of respect shown by politicians from both sides of the divide,” the report said.

Singh continued campaigning before eventually stopping for a drink of iced tea, a treat given by one of the food court patrons.

“A seemingly excited trader jumped at the opportunity for a photo with Karpal. She was grinning from ear to ear. When passing by a graveyard, Karpal’s eyes glistened as he reminisced about the good old days when he used to bring his cows there to graze. His mind is still as sharp as ever,” the newspaper said.

At another market, he met more political rivals in the poll fray. Singh was shaking hands. “Again, the old lion was well received, with eager stallholders and customers keen to shake his hand.”

One patron, from Singapore, took the opportunity to have his picture with Karpal taken.

He crossed over and was invited in for a drink - another iced tea. This time he gulped down his drink as he wanted to continue on his campaign.

Singh’s campaign day ended at 10 p.m., the report said.

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