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Ethnic Indian wins key Malaysian by-poll
Sunday, April 25, 2010 08:22:19 PM, IANS
Kuasla Kubu Baru (Malaysia): An ethnic Indian Sunday won a prestigious parliamentary by-election, giving a boost to the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) that claims to speak for the 1.7 million community.
MICís information chief and a public relations consultant P. Kamalanathan re-took the Hulu Selangor seat the party - a constituent of the ruling alliance Barisan Nasional (BN) - had lost by a narrow margin of 198 votes in 2008.
Kamalanathan won by a margin of 1,725 votes, getting 24,997 votes to the opposition Pakatan Rakyat candidate Zaid Ibrahimís 23,272, The Star newspaper said.
He had been hand-picked by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak over MIC vice chief G. Palanivel who had held the seat since 1991.
Razak had also preferred the MIC to contest the seat over the claims by his own United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), although ethnic Indian voters comprised only 19.6 percent of the electorate in the constituency.
The challenge for the MIC, the prime minister said, was to represent all the communities, not just ethnic Indians.
The Hulu Selangor victory is significant for the MIC that had been reduced to three seats in the 2008 election in which the party chief, S. Samy Vellu had lost his ninth bid at re-election.
Indians form seven percent, followed by ethnic Chinese in Malaysiaís 28 million population.
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