TTF: Michael Jeyakumar’s statement just goes to show how troubled Pakatan Harapan is by BN’s truth campaign. They’re so afraid of faring badly during GE14, that they’re even willing to rob his seat
KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition pact Pakatan Harapan (PH) will only be helping ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) win the Sungai Siput seat if it insists on contesting there in the 14th general elections, the Perak seat’s incumbent has said.
Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj, the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) representative currently holding the party’s sole seat of Sungai Siput, said PH joining the fray there would simply play into BN’s hands.
“If there’s no three-corner fight, I should have a fighting chance.
“It’s a difficult seat, it’s a tough seat won by small majority. If any of the Pakatan Harapan chaps stand there and take away 3,000 votes, I’m gone. It’s going to be BN (winning). I’m quite sure it will happen, BN will win, they want the seat badly, this is what they want,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted today, confirming that he will be defending the seat directly under a PSM banner.
Dr Jeyakumar had pulled off an upset win in 2008 when he defeated BN’s long-standing Sungai Siput incumbent Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, retaining his seat in the 2013 elections with a 2,793-majority over MIC’s Datuk Seri S. K. Devamany. On both occasions, the PSM candidate contested under a PKR ticket.
Dr Jeyakumar revealed that “senior people in DAP, senior people in PKR” had in the last three to five months approached him with an offer for an arrangement for PSM to not contest in any seats except Sungai Siput.
“They will only consider to give us Sungai Siput if I stand on a PKR ticket. So that’s the deal we were given, so when we stand in any other seats, of course they’ll say we are taking their seats,” he said.
Dr Jeyakumar said PSM is “facing a fight of survival as a political party”, saying that PH was essentially trying to relegate PSM’s role to a mere grassroots NGO instead of allowing them space to also take part in elections and electoral politics.
“If we follow what they said, Sungai Siput and personal to me on PKR ticket, PSM doesn’t exist. They are really pushing us into a corner, so PSM has got to stand, it can’t just stand in one seat,” he said, noting that PSM feels that the offer of only one seat was “too restrictive”.
“We have not been getting good treatment from Pakatan Harapan, so our choice is to roll over and die as political party or go ahead and stake our seats,” he said.
Responding to Perak DAP chief Nga Kor Ming’s remarks yesterday that PH would contest in Sungai Siput, Dr Jeyakumar said it was a “small-minded” approach that reflects the opposition pact’s poor treatment of PSM in the past few years.
PSM had been given the “cold shoulder” since 2012 when it received no response to its formal application to join the opposition pact, and was never invited to join PH or receive any response to its numerous calls to work on an electoral pact to avoid multi-corner fights, he said.
He said PSM was merely seeking to stand in a very small number of federal and state seats —- 20 out of the hundreds nationwide, noting that PH could instead welcome PSM as a party that understands grassroots concerns to complement their slate of candidates.
“They don’t have to see us as an enemy, it’s only 20 seats, so Pakatan can quite easily accommodate us and we are not asking for exco positions, CMs or Cabinet positions. We are asking to bring our experience and expertise to Dewan Undangan Negeri and Parliament. It won’t be difficult to include us,.
“They got to give us a bit of space, we are not asking for half of the seats in the country, only small number and that also where we have been working, some for decades. If Pakatan Harapan wants to put forth a slate which is good and credible, I think we can add to the credibility,” he said.
Instead of viewing PSM as the party causing three-corner fights in elections, voters should instead evaluate who is the actual cause of such multi-corner contests, he said.
“But Malaysians should see who is causing three-corner, it’s not like we are asking 20 per cent or 50 per cent. Pakatan Harapan can accommodate if they really wanted to, if they can accommodate Dr Mahathir, all those on the other side all these while with dubious record, why can’t PSM be accommodated? What are our misdoings compared to Bersatu,” he asked, referring to PH newcomer Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia chaired by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
In a statement, PSM central committee member S. Arutchelvan said PSM does not pick its seats based on the incumbent party there, but picks it based on areas where they want to highlight local issues.
“It so happens that the seats we are standing are seats we have done work and these seats happen to be DAP seats in Perak. In other states, maybe we would be standing in seats to be contested by PKR, BERSATU, AMANAH and PAS,” he said, noting that PSM would have chosen seats where DAP has a small majority if it had really wanted to go for a kill on the party’s Perak seats.
He noted that the opposition still won in Perak’s Jelapang state seat as DAP still took the seat in a three-corner fight against PSM and BN in 2013, but said DAP contesting in Sungai Siput will directly help BN as seen in the 2004 elections.
“But when DAP took on PSM in 2004, it only resulted in a BN victory,” he said. “Thus it’s the DAP decision to contest in Sungei Siput that will be detrimental.”
He also said Dr Jeyakumar would definitely support a PH government instead of a BN government.
“DAP and Harapan should focus its fight in beating BN and not waste its time with the 3 per cent seats PSM is standing. PSM is also more interested in highlighting many issues faced by the common rakyat and grassroots communities neglected by the bigger parties,” he said.
Source: The Malay Mail Online