KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 5 — MIC’s desire to stand in Pulai, the parliamentary seat in Johor, appeared to have ticked off Umno’s Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed who described his Barisan Nasional (BN) colleague’s ambition as impertinent.
Johor MIC information chief S. Deva had reportedly offered himself to contest the formerly Umno stronghold, now helmed by Parti Amanah Negara deputy president Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub.
Nur Jazlan, a former deputy minister and MP for Pulai from 2004 to 2018, said he had initially offered the seat to MIC but stressed that a chance to recapture the highly-mixed constituency would require a heavyweight, either the party’s president or deputy president.
“It’s a shame because as MP for Pulai since 2004 it seems to me MIC was not that serious about taking up my offer,” he wrote in a statement on Facebook today.
“Everyone knows that Pulai is a tough seat and only heavyweight candidates stand a chance at winning, not lightweights,” the Johor Umno deputy chief added.
Nur Jazlan then alleged that MIC has a penchant to parachute candidates, lose and then whimsically pick a new constituency to contest. He called it a “foldable chair” culture.
“MIC cannot carry around this ‘foldable chair’ culture in Pulai like how they do it in other seats before this. They ask for seats but when they lose they just fold their chairs, move somewhere else and ask for another seat,” the Umno politician said.
Pulai is a highly mixed seat with Malays forming slightly over half the electorate, followed by ethnic Chinese voters at almost 40 per cent and then ethnic Indian voters at about 12 per cent.
To date there are some 160,000 eligible voters in the urban seat that sits at the tip of Johor state.
The huge percentage of Chinese electorates in the constituency has prompted BN to consider fielding a candidate from its main Chinese component member MCA instead, Nur Jazlan said.
“So, if MIC or S. Deva insists on standing in Pulai they must first negotiate with MCA because I had already invited the MCA president to be BN’s candidate in Pulai.
“Of course I would have to respect and give face to MCA because in Pulai 40 per cent of the voters are Chinese while Indian voters only make up 12 per cent,” he added.
Nur Jazlan said he would agree to make way if MCA would clear the path for an MIC candidate to stand there.
But he also suggested that MIC reciprocate Umno’s “sacrifice” by exchanging it with a seat like Tapah, currently helmed by Datuk Seri M. Saravanan.
“If I and Umno can sacrifice the Pulai seat, MIC must also make way for Umno to stand in Tapah where a majority of the electorate are Malays. Only then can it be fair and representative of the BN family spirit.
“I believe if an Umno candidate stands in Tapah BN will win the parliamentary seat because currently Malay voters are highly confident of [Umno’s] ability and sterling track record,” Nur Jazlan said.