Thursday, April 08, 2010
Khir: 'Racist' PKR has the upper hand
Fomer Selangor menteri besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo today conceded that PKR has an edge in the upcoming Hulu Selangor parliamentary by-election. The Umno leader said this is because the party has played up racial issues, especially to attract Malay voters who form the majority of the 64,500-strong electorate.
Apart from this, he said a sizeable chunk of the 16,964 or 26.3% Chinese voters who backed PKR in the last election, have not returned to Barisan Nasional.
Khir took a swipe at PKR for pressing Barisan Nasional to field a Malay candidate as opposed to someone from MIC for the seat.
“The racist PKR provoked Umno to field its candidate because PKR will nominate a Malay candidate.
“Many Umno supporters have fallen for this bait and there is a strong possibility that they will vote for PKR's Malay candidate,” he said.
Khir said if BN fields an Umno candidate, then it will risk losing the support of non-Malays since Hulu Selangor is a traditional MIC seat.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak confirmed that it will be a MIC candidate, but had stopped short of endorsing the party's nominee G Palanivel.
This has further fuelled speculation that the MIC deputy president may be dropped, and BN will field a younger candidate.
'Chinese will be kingmakers'
Previously, there was speculation that Umno is pushing for another former Selangor menteri besar Muhammad Muhammad Taib to be given the chance to take a crack at the seat.
However, Khir claimed that this was another act of provocation by PKR to split the Malay votes.
“Umno cannot contest there as it is MIC's traditional seat. If Umno fields its candidate, the people (non-Malays) will lose faith in the BN,” he added.
There were also reports claiming that Khir was perturbed by the possibility of Muhammad contesting, since the duo are said to be embroiled in a tussle.
Meanwhile, Khir said of the 32,000 Malay voters, 17,000 were Umno supporters while 15,000 backed PAS.
“I believe that it is the Chinese voters who will be the kingmakers in this by-election,” added the Sungai Panjang state assemblyman.
Khir also pointed out that with Selangor now under the control of Pakatan Rakyat, the state government will mobilise all its machineries to ensure a victory for the PKR candidate.
He said that Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim has opened an office in Hulu Selangor in preparation for the polls.
“He (Khalid) never visited Hulu Selangor before, but now because there is a by-election, I understand that he has approved millions of ringgit for the people there.
“Khalid is already making many promises in Hulu Selangor,” he added.
Nomination for the parliamentary seat is on April 17 while the by-election will be held on April 25. The seat fell vacant following the death of PKR's Zainal Abidin Ahmad.
In the 2008 general election, Zainal defeated Palanivel by a razor-thin majority of 198 votes.
This time around, PKR is expected to field former law minister Zaid Ibrahim.