Malaysian Indian-led party seeks to join ruling alliance


Kuala Lumpur : A minor multi-racial party led by a Malaysian Indian leader has sought admission to the ruling alliance Barisan Nasional (BN), ahead of the general election that is likely to be held this year.

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If not admitted, Parti Satu Malaysia (PSM), led by its pro-tem president Muruga Raj Rajathurai has said it would field independent candidates.

“Most of us are BN workers for the past 15 years and I don’t see any reason why they would not accept us,” he said.

He warned that if they failed to be BN’s affiliate member, they would contest as independents in the next general election.

This was “a not-too-subtle threat to the BN coalition”, New Straits Times said Monday.

Rajathurai led a faction of People’s Progressive Party (PPP), a BN constituent led by its president M. Kayveas. He quit the PPP along with T. Murugiah, a deputy minister in the government of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

While Murugiah joined the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), the country’s largest party of ethnic Indians and a key BN constituent, Rajathurai chose to float PSM.

The PSM’s application for recognition as a party is pending before the Registrar of Societies.

“We will be the first party that will give a list of information about our members to BN for verification purposes,” Rajathurai told media Sunday.

Set up in June last year, the party claims to have 10,000 members. Besides claiming to have set up over 200 branches in Johor, Perak, Federal Territory, Negri Sembilan and Malacca, it also said numerous members from the Opposition are going to join them.

“We are targeting 50,000 members,” Rajathurai said.

Multi-racial Malaysia is home to 2.1 million ethnic Indians, a bulk of them Tamils.

They are represented by a plethora of parties that are constituents of both the BN and opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

There are smaller parties representing Indian ethnic groups, including one that claims to speak for the Punjabis. There are about 100,000 Sikhs in Malaysia.