PUTRAJAYA, Mar 24 – The fate of the country’s biggest Indian party, MIC, will be determined by the number of parliamentary and state seats it can win in the 14th General Election (GE14), according to its president, Datuk Seri Dr S.Subramaniam.
Admitting that it would be an uphill task for MIC to win the nine parliamentary and 18 state seats it is likely to contest in GE14, he said a good result was important to regain the party’s golden era. This, he said, could be done with a stronger set of leaders and proper strategies to remain relevant to the Indian community.
Dr Subramaniam, who is also Health Minister, said a poor performance in the GE14 could result in a political fallout within the community and the national political context for the party, which won four out of nine parliamentary seats in GE13 in 2013.
“Winning seven parliamentary seats is still our hope. Let us hope we can achieve that target. The election result is important for us. If we do better, it will strengthen the party. If we do worse than GE13, then politically it is not good for us and the party’s image,” he told Bernama in an interview here recently.
Dr Subramaniam was reported as saying that MIC was confident of winning seven parliamentary and 13 state seats from the 28 seats it plans to contest in GE14. In GE13, BN won 133 out of 222 parliamentary seats contested, with MIC contributing four seats to the coalition.
He said the national wave of anti-MIC and BN sentiments and seat demographics based on race, were among the reasons why the party lost badly in the 2008 and 2013 elections based on a study conducted by the party.
“Based on this study, these reasons will also determine whether a seat can be considered as a risky or safe seat and therefore, many seats that MIC had and will contest are no more ‘safe seats’. The other contributing factors, based on the complaints we received from the ground were grassroot MIC leaders not interacting with ordinary people,” he added.
To date, Dr Subramaniam said the party had reached out to more than 500,000 Indian voters through the “Jalinan Rakyat” programme.
He notes that the government and MIC had been wooing the Indian community with various programmes including the Malaysian Indian Blueprint, to help the country’s Indian community, promising to raise incomes and educational levels, opening up business opportunities and more jobs opportunities in government.
“This blueprint must and will be delivered. This is no election gimmick or political rhetoric. The 10-year programme received positive response for the community to continue to support BN, which has the best track record in delivering to the people,” he added.
On strategies to attract more voters, Dr Subramaniam said the party machinery had identified 20% of the fence sitters and had explained the programmes and opportunities the BN government has created for the betterment of the Indian community.
Dr Subramaniam said the party was in the midst of instilling a new dynamism to bring changes in the party’s strategies, and a pro-active image towards strengthening as well as drawing more youths into MIC to face the new wave in politics.
“The party has to transform itself. Mindset of younger generation is different. Older parties should allow the young to participate. This transformation is vital. For that, we are trying modernise as much as possible and open doors to younger people to enter into the party.” — Bernama