Special deliberations on Indian issues for the coming General Elections was held at the DAP HQ in KL today.
Among topisc of interest spoken were :
1) Welcome speech by Sdr M.Kula
2) Keynote Address by Sdr. Lim Kit Siang
3) “Where are we?” Survey By Merdeka Centre & analysis by Sdr Liew Chin Tong (Moderator: Sdr Charles Santiago)9.50am Discussion
4) “Election Strategies with special focus on Indian Voters” by Sdr. V. Siva Kumar (Moderator: Sdr. P.Gunasekaren)
5) “Are Indian voters with PR?” by Mr. Arumugam (Moderator: Sdr John Fernandez)
6) “Indian community issues - are they being addressed?” by Sdr. Gana & Sdr. Kenga (Moderator: Sdr. Senator S Ramakrishnan)
7)Closing Remarks by Sdr Prof Ramasamy
In my welcome speech I mentioned among others matters:
When will the next general election be held?
I think never before has there ever been so much speculation about the election date prior to all previous elections.
When Najib became the Prime Minister more than 2 years ago, there was speculation whether he would dissolve Parliament within the 6 month “political honeymoon period” which a new Prime Minister enjoys.
But apparently Najib felt he had to do more before he could be confident about calling a snap poll.
Then there was strong speculation last year that he might be calling for simultaneous Sarawak and Federal elections early this year. Perhaps he changed his mind after feedback said that “Pek Moh “Taib Mahnood was a liability and it would be prudent for him to see the Sarawakians’ mood first.
With Opposition making inroads at the Sarawak state election, the other speculation that Najib might dissolve Parliament before Puasa month has not become true.
I think with the present political climate , even if Paul the Sotong was alive, it would not be able to tell Najib when could be a good date for BN to face the Opposition.
Just when there has been recent speculation that Najib may call the election on November 11 this year as 11 is his favorite number; his announcement of the proposed formation of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Electoral Reforms has raised new speculation and questions.
Two questions which many people are now asking are, firstly, could this mean that the next general election will be held next year and secondly, will the election be held before or after the PSC has completed its work?
I believe that Najib will call the election when he thinks it is the best timing for BN to face the Opposition.
I therefore think that whether PSC has completed its work is not the most important political consideration for Najib.
Hence, the next general election could be this year or next year.
What is important for us is to ensure that we are totally prepared in all aspects for what is going be the dirtiest general election in the nation’s history, whenever it is held.
Indians as Kingmakers
Today’s forum to have special deliberations on Indian issues is most timely and important.
There was no doubt that the Indians’ kingmaker role played an important part in creating the political tsunami which gave the Opposition its unprecedented electoral victory at the 2008 general election.
The Indian voters will have a great say in 50 parliamentary and 133 state assembly seats where they comprise more than 10 per cent of the electorate, or in 21 parliamentary and 73 state assembly seats where they constitute more than 15% of the electorate
But what is cause for worry is that in the last few by elections which BN had won, it was clear that there was a swing of Indian vote towards the BN. Bagan Pinang, Hulu Selangor, Merlimau showed such trend.
Merdeka Centre surveys too indicated declining Indian support for Pakatan Rakyat.
Despite such a trend, the next general election is the first time in the nation’s history where there is a possibility of a change of federal government.
To make the possibility into a reality, we need to ensure stronger multi racial support for Pakatan Rakyat.
As such, we must ask why has there been a swing back of Indian votes towards the BN, coalition government which has proven itself totally incapable of reforms.
More importantly, we must be able to quickly come out with effective strategies and programmes which can regain and expand our Indian support.
I am optimistic that we can do it .
Lets work hard to ensure that the coming general election will see the birth of a new federal government that will bring about a better Malaysia for all.