MIC thinks Palanivel best choice to face Zaid

By G. Manimaran and Adib Zalkapli (Malaysian Insider)
KUALA LUMPUR, April 13 — With PKR naming Datuk Zaid Ibrahim as their candidate for the Hulu Selangor by-election, MIC leaders now believe that Datuk G. Palanivel is the best man to take on the former law minister.
MIC officials told The Malaysian Insider today that the deputy president’s experience as a former minister was much needed in the coming competition against Pakatan Rakyat (PR).
“Those who disagree with Palanivel’s candidacy must understand it is not easy to go against Zaid. The grassroots’ favourite, V. Mugilan, is not Zaid’s match,” said an aide to a senior MIC leader, referring to the party deputy youth chief said to be Umno’s choice to be candidate.
Despite speculation that Mugilan had been chosen, he argued that Palanivel still had very strong chances of being nominated as the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate.
“Yes we have problems in reaching a consensus in naming the BN candidate but we need someone strong to fight this, just like in 2004 when Palanivel was challenged by Ismail Kamus,” he said referring to the celebrity preacher from PAS.
Local Umno leaders, however, think BN should not be influenced by the decision made by its opponent.
“I cannot say anything because this is for the prime minister to decide and it has yet to be finalised,” said Hulu Selangor Umno chief, Datuk Mohamed Idris Abu Bakar.
“And the president had said it clearly at the convention, the candidate is from MIC, but he himself will decide who is going to be named,” he told The Malaysian Insider.
At the Selangor BN convention last week, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had said that he would decide on the name of the candidate but stressed that the Hulu Selangor constituency will continue to be represented by MIC.
“Anybody can make their own assessment and conclusion now, but the PM has his way to assess who is the best to contest in Hulu Selangor,” said Idris.
The Hulu Bernam assemblyman also urged MIC leaders to wait for and respect the decision of the prime minister.
Hulu Selangor Umno vice-chief Datuk Adnan Buyong shared the same sentiment.
“They chose Zaid Ibrahim, we can speculate anything, but it has nothing to do with us, we have a leader that we must follow,” said Adnan.
Ever since the Hulu Selangor seat was declared vacant, local Umno leaders have been lobbying for the seat but backed down from the demand after party president Najib insisted that the seat will be contested by MIC.
The local Umno warlords, however, have backed Hulu Selangor MIC Youth chief Mugilan, and were opposed to fielding Palanivel, claiming that he had failed to deliver on his promises.
The Malaysian Insider understands that the BN management committee met last night.
Party insiders said MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu had raised the need for other BN component parties to respect other parties’ decisions in candidate selection.
Today, Samy Vellu visited Kuala Kubu Bharu, where he met MIC branch leaders from Hulu Selangor.
BN is expected to name its candidate this Thursday while PR will officially name Zaid as its candidate tonight.
Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddn Yassin said BN will field a local to contest the April 25 by-election.
He reportedly said that the ruling coalition has a long list of potential candidates but refused to elaborate.