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MIC, Ramasamy trade barbs over Camerons no-contest

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MIC and Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy (above) are in a war of words over MIC's decision not to contest in the coming Cameron Highlands by-election.

This stemmed from the initial statement by Ramasamy calling on MIC to disband following its decision not to contest.

He said MIC owed the Indian public an explanation as to why it agreed to withdraw from contesting the traditionally MIC-held seats of Port Dickson and Cameron Highlands.

This invited MIC chief S Vigneswaran to tell the Penang DAP politician not to "preach", pointing out the latter's criticism was "a joke" as Ramasamy himself was defeated in the DAP polls.

“At least MIC has a place for the Indians,” Vigneswaran said. “Unfortunately, DAP does not.

“So, coming from a man who got defeated in his party elections and who cannot even hold his position in his party, this comes to me as a joke.

“I would like to say this to the deputy chief minister, don’t worry about us,” Vigneswaran was quoted saying by news portal Free Malaysia Today. He added that MIC was aware of its position within BN.

The MIC chief also questioned Pakatan Harapan's decision to contest in Cameron Highlands, claiming that its 14th general election manifesto "has been declared null and void".

Following criticism, the ruling coalition has in the past admitted to having trouble meeting all of its election promises.

Vigneswaran reportedly said: “So with what audacity are they coming to Cameron Highlands and what promises are they going to give further when the promises they made earlier are as good as nothing? It will all be more lies.”

'Don't be arrogant'

This prompted Ramasamy to return the volley, deeming Vigneswaran a "backdoor politician" in reference to the latter's appointment to the Senate.

In a statement this morning, Ramasamy said the MIC should rid itself of its "slavish dependence" on Umno.

"When it comes to the Cameron Highlands seat, can I ask Vignewaran why the MIC leadership gave up the seat to Umno and what is expected in return?

"Vigneswaran should not be arrogant. Just explain to the Indian public as to why the party refused to contest earlier in Port Dickson and why it is not keen to field a candidate in Cameron Highlands.

"How can the MIC call itself an Indian party when it fails to provide rudimentary representation by not fielding Indian candidates in constituencies that have been allocated to them?" he asked.

Yesterday, Ramasamy blasted the MIC of having "betrayed the Indian community" by giving up contesting in the Port Dickson by-election last year and in the coming Cameron Highlands polls later this month.

He also said that the Indian-based party was unable to provide the necessary representation due to the over-dependence of its leaders on Umno for meagre handouts.

Both parliamentary seats have been traditionally contested by MIC for the BN coalition.

However, in the Oct 13 Port Dickson polls, ultimately won by PKR's Anwar Ibrahim, BN opted to sit out the contest.

Cameron Highlands was initially won in the 14th general election by the party's candidate C Sivarraajh with a slim 597-vote majority over DAP's M Manogaran.

However, the seat was declared vacant by the Election Court in November last year after it was determined that corrupt practices led to the BN's win.

The BN announced today that it would be fielding former cop Ramli Mohd Nor for Cameron Highlands by-election slated for Jan 26.

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