Friday, April 16, 2010

Hindraf not a factor, says BN candidate Kamalanathan

Those were the words of BN's Hulu Selangor by-election candidate P Kamalanathan when asked for his opinion on whether the well-known Indian rights movement would be able exert its influence among the constituency's Indian electorate.

"Hindraf? No effect. The people will judge us from our work not by any individual. Most of them have forgotten (Hindraf)," he said, dismissing the movement in having any impact in the upcoming by-election.
Kamalanathan said there were still some who were keeping the legacy of Hindraf alive "...but the Hindraf by-products themselves are not sure where they are heading".

"But for me, it's very simple. As long as the Indian community wants development, they have to work with everybody, even the Malays and the Chinese," said the buoyant candidate.

In an exclusive interview with Malaysiakini late this evening, Kamalanathan claimed that BN was 'a family' that worked together to solve problems and did not bully each other to achieve certain means.

The public relations professional and MIC Putera leader admitted that there had been 'issues' over the past few days in deciding BN's candidate for the parliamentary by-election.

"Even within families, brothers and sisters argue and sometimes someone gets angry and walks out of the house (but) at the end of the day, the family comes together.

"Whatever happens within BN, it doesn't mean we are at the end of everything. it just means that we will discuss and we will be transparent.

"We had a problem, we had discussions and as usual we managed to find a solution," he said.

'Umno didn't bully us'

Kamalanathan, 44, was thrust into the political limelight yesterday after MIC failed in its frantic bid to get its deputy president G Palanivel to stand in Hulu Selangor and win back the seat which he lost by a slim majority of 198 votes in the 2008 general election.

In a last-minute compromise in face of objections to Palanivel's candidacy by Umno deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin, MIC president S Samy Vellu was forced to put forward Kamalanathan's name.

The Hulu Selangor parliamentary constituency - the biggest of the nine constituencies in Selangor - fell vacant after its Pakatan Rakyat representative from PKR, Zainal Abidin Ahmad, succumbed to brain cancer on March 25.
The by-election on April 25 is seen as crucial by political observers to gauge the popularity and strength of both BN and Pakatan Rakyat in wake of the landscape-changing March 8, 2008 political tsunami.

For the opposition in particular, it will a referendum of faith of sorts after a recent string of defections rocked anchor partner, PKR.

Kamalanathan brushed off the possibility that ruling party Umno had browbeaten MIC into choosing a different candidate other than Palanivel.

"If Umno was bullying us, they would have taken back Hulu Selangor a long time ago but they did not. I can also say PKR is bullying PAS as a PAS candidate will probably do better here."

Met at his residence in Taman Garing, Rawang, Kamalanathan said he was 'just a soldier' ordered to the battlefield.

"I never lobbied, full stop, promise. If you want me to be honest, I was just working very hard to convince the party and BN leadership to consider me as a candidate for the 13th general election [...] I was preparing for that," he said.

'I'm very grateful'

Preparing for that, however, also meant being prepared at all times to face the unexpected, he explained further.

"I am ready, I have the time and I'm mentally and physically prepared. I won't say I'm reluctant. It's like 911. 
The people in the fire brigade don't dress up and wait for a call. When there is an emergency notice they suit up and go [...] that's what I'm going to do," he said.

Kamalanathan, who has been an MIC member for 25 years before being appointed information chief last year was at pains to stress that he did not wrest the seat from Palanivel.
"When Samy Vellu told me I had been nominated for Hulu Selangor, I was shocked.

"I asked whether it was a party recommendation but S Murugesan (MIC secretary-general) just told me to get ready and that they will see me at Bukit Sentosa at 3.30pm when the BN candidate was to be announced."

He revealed it was not a scenario the party was preparing for as the plan was to not field anyone other than Palanivel.

"The next day, I was waiting with Murugesan at the party headquarters (and) there were a lot of meetings held, phone calls from New York to Putrajaya, Putrajaya to Kuala Lumpur and even to Parliament.

"A lot of discussions and after all that, finally I was informed that there was a decision made by the party and prime minister and the deputy prime minister had accepted my name," he said, looking astonished.

"I'm very grateful for the trust they have in me and it is not going to easy. The defending champions are the opposition and the state is run by the opposition. But I'm going to work very hard like I have never worked before.

"God has given us 24 hours in a day and I will work up to 11.59.59 pm on April 24 and I will try to get as many votes as possible in that time," he said.

courtesy of Malaysiakini

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