Thursday, February 28, 2008

If you don't vote MIC, 'prepare to pay price'

The Barisan Nasional ruling coalition today warned the disenchanted minority Indian community that they would "pay the price" if they vote for the opposition in March 8 elections.

MIC, part of the BN coalition, took out full-page newspaper ads which said Indians' prospects would "disintegrate" if they deserted the government.

The message is aimed at winning back the support of the community, which accuses the government dominated by Muslim Malays of insensitivity and discrimination.

"If you don't vote for MIC, then be prepared to pay the price," it said in bold red letters, urging Indians not to cast a protest vote for PAS, which rules impoverished Kelantan.

"Vote for PAS and see where Kelantan is today. If you think that you are not progressing under MIC, then you can now imagine getting disintegrated under PAS," it said.

Ethnic Indians have become a political force for the first time in the March elections, after an anti-discrimination rally last year that led to the detention without trial of five activists from rights group Hindraf.

Samy's act of desperation

Hindraf coordinator R Thanenthiran said the ads were a sign of desperation from MIC chief S Samy Vellu, who has been heckled and jeered for supporting the government and condemning the protesters.

"Samy Vellu is definitely threatening Indians," he said. "This shows that he has lost all of his avenues to woo votes and is flexing his iron muscles to win."

"But the Indians are educated. They are not cowards. They will be not be intimidated by the threats. Indians want their rights that has been denied for 50 years," he added.

Ethnic Indians complain that they are disadvantaged by policies aimed at boosting majority Muslim Malays, and the community has also been angered by the destruction of hundreds of Hindu temples in recent years.

Pollsters say they expect the multi-racial coalition, which has ruled for half a century, to be victorious on March 8, but with a smaller majority as it loses the support of ethnic Indian and Chinese voters

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