The date for the Bukit Selambau by-election has yet to be set but a tussle has already erupted between component parties namely Umno and MIC as well as DAP and PKR while the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) has proposed that one of its Internal Security Act detainees be fielded.
Kedah DAP and Merbok Umno felt that they should reclaim their right to contest the seat that was once allocated to them.
DAP contested the seat up till the 2004 general election while MIC contested the seat in the last four general elections.
In last year’s general election, PKR’s V. Arumugam defeated MIC’s S. Krishnan by a 2,362-vote majority.
State DAP chairman Thomas Su said a proposal would be submitted to the central executive committee to field a DAP candidate.
“Traditionally, we have been contesting the seat. We allowed PKR to contest the seat last year,” he said, adding that they had three candidates in mind.
Merbok Umno chief Datuk Tajul Urus Md Zain said Umno and MIC swapped Bukit Selambau and Kuala Ketil seats in 1995.
“I propose Umno field its candidate in Bukit Selambau instead of MIC as sentiment against MIC is quite strong in the area. Umno could return the Kuala Ketil seat to MIC in the next general election,” he added.
State Umno liaison committee chairman Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said there was nothing wrong in making such a proposal but the Umno leadership would decide.
State MIC chief Datuk V. Saravanan said: “We will not demand that MIC be given the seat, but we expect Barisan will allow the party to field its candidate.”
Meanwhile, handwritten letters from ISA detainees – Kota Alam Shah assemblyman M. Manoharan, V. Ganabatirau and R. Kengadharan – proposed that fellow detainee K. Vasantha Kumar be the candidate for Pakatan Rakyat.
The 36-year-old Vasantha Kumar was born and bred in Bukit Selambau.
Manoharan said he had full confidence in Vasantha Kumar who was detained under the ISA in December 2007 and would be grateful if Pakatan Rakyat nominated Vantha Kumar as a candidate.
The majority of voters in Bukit Selambau are Malays (50%), followed by Indians (29%) and Chinese (19%).