PKR admits will bleed Indian support in coming polls
KUALA LUMPUR, April 7 — PKR expects to lose more than one-third of its Indian community support to Barisan Nasional (BN) in the coming polls, its strategy director Rafizi Ramli has said.
But the party believes that Chinese support for the federal opposition will rise while Malay votes should remain stable, he said, according to a Berita Harian report today.
“This time I believe the record (of getting nearly 80 per cent of Indian votes) will be hard to defend what more with several issues in MIC involving its leadership going in a direction which the Indian community feels more comfortable with,” he was quoted as saying in the Malay daily after inspecting PKR’s general election preparations in Perlis yesterday.
“Nevertheless, I am confident that the support from the Chinese community will increase while the propensity of the Malays to keep choosing PKR will be maintained.”
Rafizi said that MIC president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel was increasingly aggressive in trying to attract Indian voters nationwide.
“However, we are confident not all will heed him and at least 50 per cent of the Indian community will still support us,” he said.
Since assuming office, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been actively courting the Indian community — which had largely abandoned BN in the last election — as well as voters in east Malaysia and rural Malays, both of whom seen as traditional vote banks for BN.
The Indian community’s swing to the opposition followed a government crackdown on the November 2007 Hindraf rally, where some 30,000 Indians marched for better opportunities.
Surveys by independent pollster Merdeka Center also reveal generally higher support among Indians and Malays for the prime minister compared to the Chinese.