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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Marginalised minorities to form power bloc

(Malaysiakini) Smarting under the yoke of what they claimed to be the 53-year tyranny of BN's "majority rule" and whetted by the tsunami of 2008, minority groups have banded together, hoping to create a new power bloc in Malaysian politics.

hindraf makkal sakthi human rights conference 230111 speakers panelWhat they are trying to recreate, though on a much grander scale, is the flashpoint ignited by Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) and the free and fair elections advocacy group Bersih, which many believed swayed the last general election.

Both NGOs were responsible for galvanising the groundswell of public support that was said to have helped reverse BN's once hegemonic hold on the two-thirds majority in Parliament and as well as wrest control of five states.

The 2008 experience has proven that small dedicated groups of minorities can cause a lot of waves if they work together.

It is towards this government-influencing, if not government changing critical mass that a collage of self-described "marginalised minorities" has decided to embark upon.

N Ganesan, HRP advisor June 4"We have suffered from the centrifugal force which continues to victimise us. We need a change," said moderator N Ganesan (left) at the National Human Rights Conference on The Future of Marginalised Communities in Malaysia at the KL-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall today.

Hailing from the length and breadth of the Borneo isle and the peninsula, the panel for today's discussion included representatives of groups contending that they have been disenfranchised - the Indians, Dayaks, Orang Aslis and the disabled.

However, this time, they have decided not to peg their hopes on any political party but will look more to their own interests, aiming to hold whoever is contesting at ransom, their votes for solutions to their concerns.

'We need change'
"After 2008, we were hoping that Pakatan would improve things for us. But to be honest, Pakatan did nothing for the disabled. We need change, we need good leaders who can deliver," lamented Independent Living Training Center coordinator Francis Siva in his speech to the 150-strong audience.

His main grouse, something which he said is shared by the disabled community, is the indifference with which the authorities, even in Pakatan states, treat their requests and concerns.

On the other hand are there are the Dayaks and the Orang Asli whose main grouses are centred on their relationship with their customs, the land and surrounding forest.

They claim this is being denied to them by a federal government keen on developing and extracting natural resources, so much so that it saw no wrong in stealing land owned by the Orang Asli and Dayaks.

"Timber is extracted and nature's treasures destroyed," accused Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Semenanjung Malaysia Pahang chapter chairperson Yusri Jahut.

The government's hunger for land and resources, they said, is threatening their livelihood, and poised to sever the ties to those things they hold so dear.

"We are being treated like the Red Indians of America, about a hundred years ago," lamented John Ryan Anthony of the Sarawak Dayak National Union.

He was joined by Hindraf national coordinator W Sambulingan who criticised government policies of the NEP and 'ketuanan Melayu' which he said continue to cow the Indians, warning against a possible 'Tunisia' style popular uprising.

Memo to PM

The conference came up with a list of resolutions which they will compile into a memorandum that will be sent to the PM in a month's time.

The memorandum is but a starting point as the groups all agree to move forward into a collective response to encroachments into their basic rights.

NONE"If you tell me to go to war, then we go to war. We just lack expertise, if you provide the expertise, we will provide the muscle," said Anthony displaying his commitment to the new alliance.

Former Sabah PKR leader Jeffrey Kitingan (right) joined the panel though he did not gave a speech. He was joined by another former PKR leader Zaid Ibrahim who made a cameo appearance, but just sat quietly in the audience.

"I am here just to listen," said Zaid when asked to join the panel.

The conference was organised by the Hindraf, jointly with Human Rights Foundation, Borneo Resource Institute (BRI), Common Interest Group of Sabah and Sarawak (Cigma), Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia) and several other NGOs.

Hindraf shocks Sabah, S’wak reps

KUALA LUMPUR: Indigenous delegates from Sabah and Sarawak attending the National Human Rights Conference on the Future of Marginalised and Minority Communities in Malaysia were stunned when told of the conditions of the majority of Indians in Peninsular Malaysia.

Reacting to a paper presented by Hindraf national coordinator, W Sambulingam, one delegate from Sabah who declined to be named, told FMT: “I almost forget about my our own crippling conditions in Sabah.”

In his presentation, Sambulingam had described in detail, along with facts and figures, the striking conditions of the Indians in Malaysia.

He revealed that so depressed were their lives that suicide rates among the Indians were the highest at 21.1 suicides in every 100,000 Indians.

He also said that more than 30% of Indians do not own a house, compared to 25% Malays and 18% Chinese.

“Because of extremely depressed conditions, the suicide rate among Indians is also very high, that is 21.1 suicides in every 100,000 Indians, compared to 8.6 per 100,000 Chinese and 2.6 per 100,000 Malays.

“There are many Indians who live in destitution in urban squatter colonies. There are thousands of stateless Indian children and adults. We have a very low performance in life due to the systematic denial of opportunities in the areas of education, employment and business,” he said.

Indian youths in crime

But most worrying, he pointed out, was the fact that 40% of the Indian youths are involved in crime and more than 60% of inmates in detentions camps are Indians.

In addition, more than 95% of police custodial deaths are also Indians, he said.

“This is a burgeoning problem… Indians today are stereotyped and vulnerable to be linked to crimes. They are being relegated to all the low end jobs in society, very small involvement in development programmes in the country.

“Complete landlessness is overwhelming the community. The entire Tamil School primary system needs to be revamped. Land for Tamil schools, Hindu temples, and burial grounds need to be addressed but who is listening to our plight?” he asked.

He said the government must provide equal opportunities based on merit and reaffirm Article 153 and Article 8 of the Federal Constitution that guarantees equal rights for all.

Among those in attendance at the one-day conference here were Kita party pesident, Zaid Ibrahim, CigMa chief Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, well known Sabah social activist Patrick Sindu, and scores of social justice advocates. Also attending were 200 participants from various communities.

15 arrested over Interlok protest

KUALA LUMPUR: The police arrested 15 people, including a 61-year-old woman, for protesting against the controversial Interlok novel in Tasek Gelugor, Penang.

A Kalaimughilan, the son of Perak PKR member MS Arjunan, was among those arrested.

Contacted later, he told FMT that it was a peaceful protest held at a residential area this morning in order to create awareness about the book.

“Our aim was just to hold a peaceful gathering to inform the Indians in that area about the contents of the book,” he said.

However, he added that chaos erupted when some 30 policemen arrived at the scene and arrested the protesters, including members of the Malaysian Tamil Students Progressive Team (MTSP).

Meanwhile, more than 50 police reports had been lodged nationwide against the book, which was introduced in schools this year for the Malay literature subject.

The reports were filed in Jasin, Tasek Gelugor, Kota Bharu, Sentul, Ipoh, Port Dickson, Batu Gajah, Sitiawan, Taiping, Teluk Intan, Kuantan and Malacca.

Federation of Indian Organisations (Prima) president A Rajaretnam said that the high number of police reports reflected the Indian community’s anger and frustration.

“We once again urge the government to ban the book, or else we will be forced to campaign against Barisan Nasional in the Tenang by-election,” he added.

Indian organisations, including MIC, had called for the book’s removal from the syllabus because it contained inaccurate and disparaging remarks about the community.

Interlok was penned in 1971 by national laureate Abdullah Hussain

DAP wants BN to walk religion talk

Najib said the open celebrations of various religious holidays proved freedom of religion in Malaysia. — file pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 23 — DAP wants Putrajaya to resolve the country’s religious strife, in line with Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s recent remarks that the Barisan Nasional (BN) government guarantees religious freedom.

DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua today reminded the prime minister that the practice of religious freedom should not only be skin deep, where celebrations are held in the open but both written and unwritten restrictions are placed on the various religions in the country.

He said if Najib’s claim were true, the premier should then instruct  Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to retract the government’s appeal against a December 2009 High Court decision permitting the Catholic Church to use of the term “Allah” beyond a Muslim scope.

“No such rule exists even in the predominantly Muslim Middle East, and history has shown the use of the term for centuries among Christians and Sikhs.

“However, the Barisan Nasional government has chosen to unreasonably restrict the religious practices of non-Muslims resulting in the suit filed by the Catholic Church against the former,” Pua said in a statement.

The Catholic Church’s newspaper, The Herald Weekly, had challenged the home ministry for the right to use the word “Allah” to describe God in the Christian context and had won in a landmark ruling at the High Court on New Year’s Eve in 2009.

Pua reminded Najib that religious freedom must go beyond appearances.
However, the paper remains barred from using the term pending an unresolved appeal by the home ministry.
On Thursday, Najib had joined the Thaipusam celebrations in Sungai Petani, where he said the freedom of religion practised in the country proved that the government is fair to all.

He also said the facilities and assistance provided to religious bodies also reflected the government’s aspiration in seeing the people live in peace and harmony.

But Pua said there is a growing list of cases where non-Muslims had to battle government officials and the Attorney-General’s Chambers, whom he described as having adopted the impromptu roles of Islamic religious authorities in Malaysia.

“These have included the cases of Tan Cheow Hong, Indira Gandhi, Nedunchelian, Shamala, and Genga Devi where their family lives totally disrupted when their children were converted to Islam without their knowledge or consent by a disgruntled spouse,” he claimed.

He then sought for the prime minister to expand the scope of the Cabinet-sanctioned Committee for the Promotion of Inter-religious Understanding and Harmony amongst Adherents and allow it to openly discuss critical issues affecting religious harmony in the country.

“The BN government has repeatedly postponed the inter-faith meetings which reflect the degree of intolerance among certain religious leaders in Malaysia, including a petty dispute over the name of the sub-committee,” he said.

He said while Pakatan Rakyat (PR) component parties had been active in convening such inter-faith dialogues, Umno had chosen to endorse a demonstration where protestors paraded a severed cow’s head to complain against the building of a Hindu temple in Shah Alam, on the basis that “a majority of the residents are Muslims”.

“It is hence completely hypocritical for Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman to call PAS extremists, and to claim that a vote for BN is a vote for moderation when it is clear that Umno today represents the voice of the religious and racial extremist.

“Moderate Malaysians must not be misled by the sweet rhetoric from BN leaders and instead make itself heard to protect the freedom of religion as enshrined in our federal constitution,” he said.

Algerians defy ban to protest government

Algiers, Algeria (CNN) -- Baton-wielding Algerian security forces clashed Saturday with protesters who defied a ban and took to the streets of the capital demanding political reform.

Eleven individuals and eight policemen were injured, two seriously, the official Algerie Presse Service reported.

Police arrested nine protesters, the news service said.

Algeria's largest opposition party, Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD), last week called the demonstration to demand the release of detainees, the lifting of a state of emergency that has been in place for almost two decades, and the restoration of individual and collective freedoms.

"We asked to do a march, in a legal way, but they told us: 'You are the opposition and you don't have any rights in your country,'" said Said Saadi, head of the RCD.

Saadi said the government wants Algerians to "kneel in front of them. But we don't kneel."

The government called the demonstration "small" with about 250 people and said it was "unauthorized." Security forces prevented journalists from photographing the demonstration or interviewing organizers.

Anti-government protests erupted in Algeria in early January after weeks of similar demonstrations in neighboring Tunisia that eventually ended 23 years of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's rule.

In Algeria, the protests broke out over spiraling food costs. The opposition blames the government of failing to use the north African nation's energy wealth to better the lives of ordinary people.

A law adopted in 2001 indefinitely bans all demonstrations in Algiers, according to the monitoring group Human Rights Watch. A nationwide state of emergency in effect for nearly two decades allows the government to ban any event that is "likely to disturb public order and tranquility."

Family claims Krishnan's body

UMNO racist Traffic Police issued two summons each to Hindu devotes for parking along road side at Perak Thaipusam Festival but never summons Malay muslim parking on weekly Friday prayers.

Dhanaletchmy  was shock when she received two summons for packing at roadside. She said this is outrageous  because Thaipusam is celebrated once a year but Malay muslim Friday prayers they park their car at the road side weekly and don’t even get one summons.
Dhanaletchmy was accompanied by HRP Perak Chairman R.Ramesh and his committee, made a police report against the Traffic police on being racist to Indian devotes.
On 24/1/2011 at 7.00pm HRP Perak invites all those who received summons during the Thaipusam to come to HRP Perak Office at 66/1 Jalan Ng Weng Hup, Taman Pertama, Ipoh.  HRP will assist to compile this summons and make a formal complain on the injustices practiced by the UMNO’s racist Traffic Police.
For more information please contact Mr.Ramesh- 0195235528 and Mr.Nadesan 0125866774
“Rights not Mercy”
HRP PERAK Chairman

Singapore gags citizens’ criticism, says Dr M

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 23 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said last night that Singaporeans were not allowed to cast their government in a bad light.

The former prime minister was responding to Singapore Berita Harian readers who were reportedly unhappy with him for claiming that Singaporean Malays were marginalised.

“They have freedom of speech in Singapore where you can say what you like, so long as it is approving of the government,” Dr Mahathir told reporters after launching the movement Viva Palestina Malaysia here today.

“(You have freedom) as long as you don’t say something that the government of Singapore does not like,” he added.

On Thursday, national news agency Bernama reported several Singapore Berita Harian readers as saying that Malays on the island-republic enjoyed progress without subsidies and were on equal treatment with other communities.

One reader, Sallim Ahmad, reportedly said it had become Mahathir’s theme that “the Singapore Malays are being marginalised until the end of world.”

He also said the position of Islam was protected although it was not the official religion in the republic where Malays are the minority.

Another reader called Kamariah Lim Li Hwa was quoted as saying: “We the Malays of Singapore feel at ease and are grateful that the Singapore rulers execute our trust with transparency.”

Today, Dr Mahathir said Singaporeans were welcome to make such remarks, but that they were required to “be nice in Singapore”.

On Friday, Malay rights group Perkasa voiced similar sentiments in their defence of the former PM.

“No Malays in Singapore dare to talk the truth about the treatment they received,” Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali told The Malaysian Insider.

He had also claimed that the comments by the Singapore Berita Harian readers did not represent the Malay community in Singapore in its entirety.

Dr Mahathir recently warned against dispersing Kampung Baru’s Malay residents in the same way Singapore had scattered the Malay community and diluted its voice.

He wrote in his blog that while Malaysia is being governed by a Malay majority government that cares for the fate of Malays, “let us not be so sure that there will never be a government where the voice of Malay representatives is removed.”

In June, Dr Mahathir told a rally of Malay NGOs that Malays in Malaysia risked becoming marginalised like their Singapore counterparts because of political divisions.

The former PM had said: “If we do not think deeply about the future of our community then there is a possibility that we can become [like] the Singaporean Malays and have no power.”

Interlok: Prakata yang tiada

Yang Arif,
Sudah dihujahkan sebelum ini bahawa novel Interlok edisi murid (2010) amat perlu, amat wajar dan amat sesuai ‘dimurnikan’ dahulu sebelum kembali dijadikan teks Komponen Sastera Dalam Mata Pelajaran Bahasa Malaysia (Komsas) bagi pelajar Tingkatan Lima.
Sehingga kerja-kerja itu dilaksanakan, tidak menjadi dosa besar sekiranya novel yang dipilih sebagai teks Komsas sehingga tahun 2010 ‘dilanjutkan kontrak’ demi kebaikan bersama.
Debat dan hujah sama ada Interlok edisi murid boleh disunting, diubah, dibaiki dan dimurnikan tidak lagi timbul kerana Kumpulan Sasterawan Kavyan (Kavyan) sudah pun membuktikan perkara itu melalui hujah-hujah sebelum ini.
Maka, mari kita maju bersama dalam isu ini; bukan mundur dan terus bergelumang dalam lopak yang sudah sedia keruh dicemari lumpur.
Mari kita sama-sama mencari ‘kejernihan’; meminjam perkataan yang kini sering digunakan Profesor Madya Dr Lim Swee Tin, seorang sasterawan yang diakui ‘lebih Melayu daripada orang Melayu’.
Yang Arif,
Semasa pihak Kavyan meneliti novel Interlok edisi 2003, kami mendapati buku berkenaan disertai bahagian Prakata, Kata Pengantar dan Sepatah Kata yang mengandung begitu banyak maklumat berguna yang amat wajar diketahui bukan sahaja pelajar Tingkatan Lima di Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya dan Negeri Sembilan; malah oleh khalayak umum yang mungkin hanya berpeluang membaca Interlok edisi murid.
Dalam hal ini, jangan kita lupa bahawa apabila novel Interlok edisi murid dimasukkan dalam Skim Pinjaman Buku Teks (SPBT) dan pelajar tidak perlu membelinya, maka keluarga setiap pelajar itu juga berpeluang membaca novel berkenaan secara percuma.
Sayangnya, pelbagai maklumat penting dan berguna yang ada dalam edisi 2003 tidak ditemui langsung dalam edisi 2010 (edisi murid).
Maklumat penting ditiadakan
Pada pandangan Kavyan, antara maklumat penting pada Prakata, Kata Pengantar dan Sepatah Kata dalam edisi 2003 yang boleh membantu ‘menjernihkan’ keadaan adalah seperti berikut:
“Hasil kesusasteraan adalah sebahagian daripada warisan peradaban bangsa. Ia mencerminkan perubahan sosial sesuatu bangsa. … Secara keseluruhannya, warisan peradaban ini dihayati sebagai suatu kesatuan yang memperlihatkan perkembangan dan perubahan tema, persoalan dan teknik penulisan novel … Yang penting bukan sekadar dibaca, tetapi dihayati dan dikaji sebagai hasil kesusasteraan yang mencerminkan warisan peradaban bangsa Malaysia pada abad 20.” (Prakata)
“Abad 20 adalah abad perubahan dalam perkembangan sejarah Malaysia dalam segala bidang. Perubahan sosial pada awal abad 20 … telah melahirkan perubahan yang nyata kepada pertumbuhan genre baharu dalam dunia sastera di Malaysia. … Pertumbuhan dan perkembangan ini adalah gambaran perubahan yang dialami oleh bangsa Malaysia yang kemudiannya bertambah pesat setelah kemerdekaan dicapai pada tahun 1957. … Setelah abad 20 kita lalui, wajar kita melihat kembali apa yang telah kita capai untuk menjadi pedoman kita menempuh masa depan.” (Kata Pengantar)
“Dengan inisiatif Perdana Menteri Tun Abdul Razak Hussein (pada masa itu Timbalan Perdana Menteri), suatu peraduan mengarang novel telah diadakan bersempena dengan sambutan sepuluh tahun Malaysia merdeka. … Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka diarahkan untuk menerbitkan novel yang mendapat hadiah dalam peraduan tersebut. Novel Interlok ialah salah sebuah daripada novel yang tergolong dalam kategori pemenang sayembara.” (Sepatah Kata)
Yang Arif,
Bayangkan betapa rugi apabila begitu banyak maklumat penting dan berguna ditiadakan (dinafikan kewujudan) dalam Interlok edisi murid. Malah, novel terbitan 2010 langsung tidak menyebut – termasuk di halaman Hak Cipta – bahawa karya ini dihasilkan pada 1967 dan sudah banyak kali diterbitkan sejak 1971. Interlok edisi murid adalah Cetakan Pertama 2010 dan Hak Cipta dipegang DBP 2010.
Biodata Sasterawan Negara Datuk Abdullah Hussain (Pak Lah) hanya secara khusus menyebut novel Imam.
Cetakan Pertama 2010?
Kumpulan tertentu yang ghairah menjerit di pentas terbuka, sering menuduh mana-mana pihak yang tidak menerima seadanya Interlok edisi murid (termasuk Kavyan yang mahu Interlok edisi murid ‘dimurnikan’) sebagai tidak pernah membaca novel asal Interlok dan tidak tahu siapa Pak Lah.
Nah! Berdasarkan hipotesis (baca: tuduhan) yang dilontarkan kumpulan itu sendiri, bukankah sudah cukup untuk memberi gambaran amat jelas akan kemungkinan (andaian sahaja) bahawa khalayak yang berpeluang membaca Interlok edisi murid langsung tidak tahu bahawa ia adalah karya yang ditulis dalam suasana tahun akhir 1960-an?
Apatah lagi, Interlok edisi murid disajikan dengan perakuan ‘Hak Cipta 2010’ dan ‘Cetakan Pertama 2010’.
Yang Arif,
Kavyan berpegang semakin teguh pada pendirian bahawa Interlok edisi murid yang sudah diedarkan kepada pelajar ditarik balik dengan segera. (Atau hadiahkan sahaja kepada pelajar berkenaan dengan semangat sebenar slogan ‘kerajaan prihatin’.)
Novel Interlok edisi murid perlu ‘dimurnikan’ seperti yang sudah dihujahkan sebelum ini; serta diterbitkan semula dalam ‘edisi kedua’ (edisi dimurnikan) yang mempunyai Prakata, Kata Pengantar dan Sepatah Kata – khususnya petikan-petikan penting yang dikemukakan sebentar tadi. Ia lebih penting berbanding ‘kata-kata pujian’ dan ‘propaganda’ pada bahagian blurb novel Interlok edisi murid!
Tindakan dan cadangan yang dibentangkan Kavyan sedikit pun tidak memperlekeh kehebatan Interlok sebagai sebuah karya agung yang dihasilkan Sasterawan Negara kelapan.
Sebaliknya, cadangan ini membantu mengangkat martabat Interlok dan kedudukan Pak Lah sendiri sebagai seorang sasterawan yang menerima Anugerah Sastera Negara daripada Yang di-Pertuan Agong pada 1996.
Jika itulah juga yang sebenar-benarnya dan dengan seikhlas hati diperjuangkan pihak tertentu yang lantang bersuara di pentas terbuka, maka saya tidak nampak apa-apa alasan logik – selain habuan bersifat peribadi, mungkin! – yang memungkinkan mana-mana pihak menolak cadangan bernas yang dikemukakan Kavyan.
Yang Arif, I rest my case.

Endorse 'withdraw Interlok' demand, MIC told

(Malaysiakini) The MIC representatives who attended a meeting at the ministry of education last Tuesday, over the controversial 'Interlok' for Form Five students, met again at the MIC headquarters yesterday to reiterate their demand at the meeting that the textbook be withdrawn.

Yesterday's meeting was chaired by MIC education bureau chairperson T Marimuthu. Also present were S Kumaran from the Indian Studies Department of University of Malaya, Aru Nagappan and SV Lingam, Krishnan Maniam, EM Sahadevan of the Curriculum Development Centre and a few other NGO representatives.

azlanThe purpose of yesterday's afternoon meeting was to reiterate their demands that the book be withdrawn from the Malay literature syllabus on grounds that it is unsuitable for students.

The discusion lasted more than two hours, during which they reiterated their unanimous demand for the withdrawal of the textbook.

The meeting also directed Marimuthu (below, left)to convey this decision to acting MIC president G Palanivel and deputy president Dr S Subramaniam. Kumaran and Aru, when contacted, confirmed this.

The meeting also decided that MIC should convene a central working committee meeting to endorse the demand for the book's withdrawal and that the decision be made public.

NONE“MIC is a member of the ruling coalition. Its decision on this matter is important as it will make all the difference,” Kumaran said.

“This is a matter that concerns the entire community and as MIC claims to represent the community, it must make its stand on this matter public,” concurred Nagappan.

Both Kumaran and Nagappan had told the meeting that should MIC back down from the demand, they “will not attend any more meetings concerning this matter”.

'No consensus reached'

On the deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin's claim yesterday that "MIC and other organisations" had reached a consensus with the ministry, Kumaran denied it.

“That was the position taken by the ministry officers and the other representatives. It was not our view.”

“We were unanimous in our stand at the said meeting that 'Interlok' contains remarks that disparage Indians.

“It is not a question of this word or that word. There are more than 20 instances that are clearly derogative of Indians. I did refer to them at the ministry meeting”, he added.

Nagappan also confirmed that no consensus of any kind was arrived at during the ministry meeting.

BN Leaders Upbeat On Tenang Victory

LABIS, Jan 22 (Bernama) -- Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders are upbeat the coalition front will retain the Tenang state seat with a higher majority, as initial findings indicate voters to be supportive of the BN candidate.

MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said the party election machinery would try to meet as many voters as possible although the voter mood trend towards BN was positive.

"I have been here for sometime. I'm not alien to this place. I see the chances of wining are good. The mood is also good, especially in the past one year, following the announcement of the government transformation plan," he told reporters at the nomination centre.

MIC president Datuk G. Palanivel said MIC would deliver as many Indian votes as possible, capitalising on 1,410 MIC members in the Labis area.

"The Indian mood towards BN in the area is good. We are close to getting back the level of support which we enjoyed before. There have been a lot of allocations for temples here by the MB (menteri besar)," he said.

People's Progressive Party president Datuk M. Kayveas said BN was well-prepared for this by-election, with its election machinery more coordinated and focused.

"I believe we can achieve a healthy result in this by-election," he said.

Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu senior vice-president Datuk Seri Awang Tengah Ali Hasan was also confident that BN could retain the Tenang seat as voters were more motivated by the 1Malaysia spirit.

Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said there were several factors which he believed, would see the people supporting the BN in the by-election.

Among them were support for the 1Malaysia concept, government transformation plan and choice of candidate, he said.

Meanwhile, Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim said his survey revealed a good chance for victory but the election machinery needed a boost to win the hearts of the public.

"We need to pay more house-to-house visits as ceramahs are not that effective. Although the opposition preaches on its manifesto, it is nothing we cannot handle," he said.

Sabah United Party deputy president Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili believed the straight fight between BN and PAS would work into BN advantage, especially among the non-bumiputera voters.

"The non-Malay has good reason to vote for BN. You ask me, the advantage is not on the candidate but on the BN itself. Since last year, BN leadership has come out with various trasnformation plan either on government or party level," he said.