COMMENT | The Election Commission has announced that the Cameron Highlands by-election will be held on Jan 26.
This follows the Election Court's decision to declare BN-MIC candidate C Sivarraajah’s GE14 win in the parliamentary seat null and void after finding that corrupt practices were committed prior to the election.
MIC decided not to appeal against the ruling but can it win back the seat traditionally known as its stronghold?
By the looks of it, a win for the party in the coming by-election will be beyond imagination as MIC's glory days are over.
People view the party as belonging only to ‘selected’ people and this perception has to be changed - MIC does not need “talkers” but “doers”.
In a bid to win back the confidence of the Indian community, MIC has to build a reasonably strong brand that truly represents them.
It has to change its values, attitude and approach in order to be respected by the community once again.
The era of MIC leaders among professionals has gone silent. Party leaders have to make sacrifices, be humble and work extremely hard to reach out to voters especially the younger generation to regain their trust and confidence that the party can continue to safeguard their interests.
Ironically, most party leaders seem to overstay within their comfort zone.
In the current situation, where Umno is fragmented and continues to be in a state of denial, MIC cannot be fully dependent on it to win the Camerons Highlands by-election.
Umno has become a rotten fish. The majority of Malays have turned away from Umno and PAS while most Chinese and Indians no longer support BN. The series of corruption allegations against Umno/BN leaders have left a sour taste among Malaysian voters.
MIC leaders must remember that the rakyat have spoken and rejected BN.
The party has to craft its own plans. It must strategise to retain the seat or risk going into oblivion.
MIC needs to open up to young professionals and allow transparency and freedom of speech even if it leads to disagreements.
True leaders listen without being condescending and as integrity remains one of the top leadership attributes, the Indian community would look forward to leaders of integrity.
Post-election reports say about 70-75% of Indians and 95% of Chinese voted for Pakatan Harapan while about 35-40% of Malays voted for BN while 30-33% supported PAS.
There are 32,009 registered voters who are eligible to vote for the by- election.
MIC's vision and mission must be clear to regain trust of the Indian community and at the same time, it must cater to all in urban or semi-urban areas and above all, Malaysians as a whole.
MIC should be seen a Malaysian institution.
M VIVEK had served as an aide to several former MIC deputy ministers.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.