MIC today plucked a page from political foe DAP’s playbook in preparation for the January 26 Cameron Highlands parliamentary election. It’s president Tan Sri S. Vigneswaran said the Barisan Nasional (BN) party is willing to let go of its acrid history with PAS and will accept the Islamist party’s offer to help with campaigning since they were both now on the same Opposition bench and battling a common enemy ― the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.
“When we were in government, we had a different opinion of PAS but now both parties are in the Opposition. So, there is no difference between PAS and Amanah as far as we are concerned,” he told Malay Mail when contacted for comment on PAS’s aid offer for the Pahang by-election. Tan Sri noted that if Amanah ― a PAS splinter ― could work with DAP and even be part of the same PH coalition, then MIC could similarly cooperate with PAS.
“We are glad that our working relationship with PAS is growing,” he added. Tan Sri Vigneswaran, who is also the Dewan Negara president, said mutual assistance between MIC and PAS would bolster the two-party system to ensure better governance. “If a strong Opposition is lacking, there will be a lot of issues such as now where the government could not fulfill their manifesto,” he said.
News portal The Malaysian Insight had earlier today cited PAS secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan saying the Islamist party is willing to use its election machinery to help MIC campaign in Cameron Highlands even though they were not in the same coalition. Takiyiddun was reported saying PAS would run its own activities and coordinate with MIC to help the latter retain the seat.
MIC and PAS are known to have been at loggerheads with each other over ideological issues. Both took opposing stands in the unilateral conversion of minors to Islam, which have played out in the courts, most notably in Hindu mother M. Indira Gandhi’s legal challenge against her Muslim convert former husband’s move to change the religion of their three children without her knowledge.
It was previously reported that DAP’s M. Manogaran narrowly lost Cameron Highlands by 597 votes to MIC Vice President Dato C. Sivarraajh won Cameron Highlands in GE14, but his DAP challenger M. Manogaran, who narrowly lost by 597 votes, filed a case with the Election Court which ruled to nullify the results after finding that voters were bribed to favour BN.
Dato C.Sivarraajh had intended to re contest the by-election until the Election Commission ruled that he was ineligible to vote and contest for five years. The MIC has yet to name its candidate though four names have reportedly been shortlisted. Tan Sri Vigneswaran declined to confirm or deny the shortlist, saying MIC will make known its Cameron Highlands pick within the next two days.