|Ex-soldier aims to topple MIC in its backyard|
BS Vanan | Mar 3, 08
Fifty-year-old V Arumugam just got fed with the way the Indian community was sidelined by the BN government.
He had given up all hope that MIC, the community�s representative in the government, would be able to help elevate the status of the community.
As such he decided to do something on his own - he decided to stand in the general election as an independent candidate to force some changes in the system.
The ex-soldier believes that he has the support of the Indian community as well as the rest of the voters to take on BN-MIC�s S Krishnan at the Bukit Selambau state seat in Kedah.
What was expected to be a three-cornered fight involving himself, Krishnan and PKR�s Saiful Izham Ramli turned into a straight fight when the PKR man�s nomination was rejected by the Election Commission on nomination day over his failure to submit his expense accounts for the 2004 general election.
Now Arumugam sees it as his responsibility to make a change, at least in the Bukit Selambau constituency, by defeating the MIC new face.
Born and raised in Sungai Petani, Arumugam was a former division level PKR leader in Bukit Selambau.
There are 34,977 voters in this seat with Malays forming the bulk of it at 50.2 percent. There is also a sizeable number of Indian voters (30 percent) here. Chinese form 19.3 percent of the total voters.
In 2004, MIC�s V Saravanan retained this traditionally strong MIC seat in a three-cornered fight by a 7,695-vote majority.
Malaysiakini caught up with Arumugam for an interview in one of his rounds in the area. Below is an excerpt of the interview.
Malaysiakini: How is the response from the public for you?
V Arumugam: Very encouraging, especially from the Malays and the Chinese voters. Basically they want a change. In that aspect everyone is giving a full support. Each time when they meet me, from they handshake itself you can know how much support they are giving. Some even tap on my shoulder. They are not running away. They are welcoming (me). That shows they are eager for a change.
How do you do your campaigning?
Hmm..just a few days ago, there was an announcement from PKR that they will endorse me, as their candidate Saiful Izham has been disqualified. They are sponsoring some campaigning materials. And since I am contesting on the Makkal Sakthi (people�s power) platform, various types of contributions are pouring in. Basically I am using all the opposition (campaigning) materials.
How do you face the might of the BN/MIC campaign machinery?
The Makkal (people) are behind me. They are ready to walk with me. That surely will make me more energetic. Even with BN�s heavy machinery, I think my personal approach gives more effective way to campaign. We are going around to send the message.
There is significant increase in the number of independent candidates in this general election (about 22 in Peninsular Malaysia alone). What do you think the reason behind this?
The reason behind this is the unfulfilled expectations of the people. They expect that someone can represent them to champion for the cause of the community. They are not sure if they can trust the sweet promises by political parties. If we contest under opposition parties, nothing is going to happen.
Now when we question anything they will label us as opposition and things will go wrong there. We don�t what that. We want to help people, to highlight to the government about the public�s outcry. We fight for the good causes. That is why I am standing as independent.
What will you if you are elected?
The basic thing is to uplift the social economic levels of the poor, especially for the Indians. They need a hand to shape their future. There are a lot of school dropouts, I was raised in estate environment so I know how it is. I have my personal experience.
Now they are looking if anyone can assist them, genuinely. For other communities, they have their own problems as well. The Chinese wants more financial assistants to run their business and the Malays with land issues�there are many.
Your view on the calls for independent candidates to form an alliance or a party?
Can�that is only if we are able to secure the seats. If not then no point. I believe independent candidates are more towards one-to-one basis, without allying to any parties.
Your comment on Malaysian elections?
It is not a fair election. In Merbok, when they handed over the postal votes, there were few names of those who were not in the military service. Is that fair? After so many complaints, still no action. Why not just get rid off the postal votes?
We heard that you have received several threats...
Yes, but that is part of politics. It�s normal lah. (On the threats) I am not sure which party supporters they are, but if it is BN then let them be. I am not worried about that. They may be afraid that I might give them a strong fight.
Do you wish to comment on your opponent?
I do my campaigning in a more gentlemanly way. I don�t do all the character assassinations. Let him do that.
Finally, your message to your voters?
I am a local resident here. They all know me. I am very clean. In that way I am getting respect, I am getting my support. I don�t want to disappoint the middle-class and lower-class people.
Probable Source: MalaysiaKini
Daripada Abu Umarah iaitu al-Bara' bin 'Azib radhiallahu anhuma, katanya: "Kita semua diperintah oleh Rasulullah s.a.w. untuk melakukan tujuh perkara, iaitu meninjau orang sakit, mengikuti janazah, menentasymitkan orang yang bersin, menolong orang yang lemah, membantu orang yang teraniaya, meratakan salam dan melaksanakan sumpah."