Athi Veeranggan | Feb 11, 09 11:17am
Step aside PKR, other parties are keen to have their candidates in the Bukit Selambau by-election in Kedah.
V Arumugam won the state seat as an independent last March in the general election, but he quit as state assemblyperson and state exco on Feb 9 and is in hiding, ostensibly for his safety in the face of alleged threats.
Now Pakatan Rakyat allies DAP and PAS and even the outlawed Hindu Rights Action Force are keen to contest when the by-elections are called. The Election Commission is due to meet on Friday.
Kedah DAP organising secretary Teoh Teik Guan confirmed speculation that the party is interested in contesting the seat as it had fielded candidates there prior to the arrangement last year with Pakatan.
“It was DAP’s seat before 2008. So we desire to re-contest the seat,” he told Malaysiakini, saying the Kedah DAP will hold a meeting later to decide on this.
The state DAP leadership, he said, has already conveyed its intention to identify a “credible candidate” but will leave it to party leaders to make a final decision in discussion with their counterparts in Pakatan.
Among the potential candidates is DAP life-member S Neelamekan, 49, who was born in Penang.
Now the Lunas branch chief, he had contested and lost the Prai state seat in Penang against Barisan Nasional (BN) incumbent Dr K Rajapathy in 1999. In 2000, he was among those considered for the Lunas by-election under the DAP ticket.
PAS, it is learnt, is also keen to contest the seat by fielding a candidate of Indian origin – lawyer Jegadeeson Thavasu who is based in Sungei Petani.
A member of the PAS non-Muslim club in Kedah, he had actively campaigned for the party and Pakatan candidates in the last general election.
He is seen by local PAS leaders as a candidate who will be able to get the support of all ethnic groups.
Hindraf pitches for seat
However, the Pakatan parties could find themselves facing Hindraf national coordinator RS Thanenthiran, 45, who may stand on a PKR ticket.
It is learnt that Hindraf self-exiled chairperson P Waythamoorthy and local Hindraf leaders have spoken to PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim to field him.
Penang Hindraf deputy coordinator Sanjeeviramah Subramaniam confirmed that the movement is keen for Thanenthiran, a former teacher, to contest.
Sanjeeviramah said Hindraf should be rewarded for its aggressive campaign on behalf of Pakatan’s election campaign last year.
Thanenthiran, he said, has a sincere and honest desire to serve the people, will remain loyal to the cause and can be accepted by all communities and parties.
Since Anwar has said that PKR will field an Indian candidate, Thanenthiran would be an ideal choice, more so with the whole Hindraf machinery in Kedah to ensure his victory.
“A representation of Hindraf would be a genuine representation for the Indian Malaysian community,” said Saneeviramah.
Hindraf has originally decided that it did not want to be involved in active politics. However since the movement was outlawed last October, it leaders have changed their mind.
Yesterday, PKR Jerai division leader BS Kalai Vanar had expressed his desire to contest the seat as well.