By Neville Spykerman
HULU SELANGOR, April 22 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) is now going to town with pictures of Barisan Nasional’s (BN) P. Kamalanathan apparently kissing the hand of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin during nomination day last Saturday, in efforts to paint the MIC man as an Umno stooge.
The BN candidate for this Sunday’s by-election denied the act when asked by The Malaysian Insider yesterday but added that even if it were true, it was merely a depiction of Malaysian culture.
True or otherwise, the picture has been circulated over the internet.
Selangor state executive councillor, Dr Xavier Jayakumar, told The Malaysian Insider that copies of the picture were being prepared and would be targeted at the Indian and Chinese communities.
“As far as I am concern the pictures shows him kissing the deputy prime minister’s hand,” he said last night.
He said it also proved what PR had been saying all along, that “Kamalanathan is a stooge.”
A senior MIC leader, speaking on condition of anonymity, admitted it was a misstep on the part of Kamalanathan.
“Kissing a leader’s hand may be part of Malay culture but it’s not Malaysian culture,” he said, adding the pictures will cost BN some votes among the non-Malay communities.
Furthermore, the MIC leader pointed out the incident was not Kamalanathan’s only misstep while campaigning.The MIC information chief had also come under fire for defending Malay Rights group, Perkasa, and for criticising the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), which is credited with singlehandedly turning the Indian community against BN in Election 2008.
“Everything is a sensitive issue during an election. He should’ve sidestepped any questions on Perkasa while remaining silent on Hindraf, which is a sleeping volcano,” he said, attributing the missteps to the 44-year-old’s inexperience and heavy campaign schedule.
“It’s a big constituency and he is clearly exhausted.”
Other local MIC members played down the impact of the pictures and Kamalanathan’s defence of Perkasa.
Hulu Yam Baru MIC chief, 40-year-old M. Saravanan, said pictures or no pictures, Kamalanathan was getting the full support of the Indian community.
“I’ve not seen the pictures but I doubt they will have any impact.” he said.
S. Sridaran, 32, said he would still give Kamalanathan a chance to prove himself.
“No matter what, I personally would like to see what he can do and if he can carry out his promises,” said the MIC member from Batang Kali.
But non-MIC members were far less understanding.
KG Segaran, 41, said the pictures would impact negatively on Kamalanathan.
“I don’t understand why he had to do it,” he added.
R. Saravanan said the pictures made no difference to him.
“I have already made up my mind on who to vote for, on Sunday,” said the 38-year-old farm technician, who declined to disclosed if he support BN or PR.