Malaysian opposition targets Samy Vellu

March 1st, 2008 - 1:56 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, March 1 (IANS) Malaysian Indian leader S. Samy Vellu and his Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) are being targeted at election rallies as the opposition woos ethnic Indian voters ahead of the March 8 elections. Some of the criticism is directed at the government in which Vellu is the works minister. The reference to “police repression” on Tamils draws enthusiastic response from the crowds, media reports say.

Indian voters, predominantly Tamil, form eight percent of Malaysia’s 27 million population.

Among those wooing Indian and ethnic Chinese voters are senior Malay leaders like controversial former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim.

Ibrahim’s daughter Noor Izza Anwar is challenging Shahrizat Jalil, a Malay of the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional.

Politicians are exploiting the unhappiness felt by the Indians ever since the authorities cracked down on them for taking to the streets with allegations of discrimination. MIC president Samy Vellu is targeted in the speeches.

When opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP) candidate Gobind Singh Deo, an ethnic Indian, and Ibrahim’s Parti Kedalan Rakyat (PKR) Wangsa Maju candidate Wee Choo Keong speak about the police and the judiciary, the crowds roar: “Correct! Correct! Correct!”

As March 8 approaches, microphones are getting louder, billboards are getting bigger and campaign kitchens, meant to feed the volunteers fresh cooked food, are getting busier, The Star newspaper said.

Mahathir Mohamad, defying his age and health, has come out, selectively though, to campaign for his son Mukhriz Mahathir.

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