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PSM's Jeyakumar faces Devamany, independent in Sg Siput

SUNGAI SIPUT (April 20, 2013): The expected clash of the two strong names - Parti Sosialis Malaysia's Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj and Malaysian Indian Congress' (MIC) Datuk S K Devamany - for the Sungai Siput parliamentary seat has been tempered by questions of whether the race will be spoiled by a local independent candidate who has joined the fray.

The 46-year-old marketing manager in a polytechnic, S P Nagalingam, who is from Lintang, said he is not afraid of contesting against the two prominent figures as he was born and bred in Sungai Siput.

Nagalingam, who is currently involved in Parti Kita, was with MIC for many years before he left the party three years ago and joined the PPP, which he also left six months ago.

Approached by reporters after nominations closed for the 13th General Election here, he did not elaborate on the changes he claims to bring if he wins the seat.
Dr Jeyakumar is running on the PKR ticket and Devamany for Barisan Nasional (BN).

Devamany, who has been repeatedly named as the winnable candidate by former MIC president Datuk S Samy Vellu, said it does not matter how many he would be up against as he was sure to win.

"I have been here since January and have worked very closely with the constituents and I know they are clear about their leader," he said.

"I know I will definitely win but my only sadness is that I am up against my good friend, Jeyakumar."

"We've known each since we were studying together in Universiti Malaya," said the 55-year-old deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Department.

Dressed in the typical dark blue shirt, Devamany was all smiles when he was the first candidate to arrive at the nomination centre this morning.

He was escorted by Samy and some 500 supporters constantly cheering "Hidup BN" and singing the traditional war song, "Inilah Barisan Kita" (this is our front).

Samy expressed confidence of BN winning the seat which he lost in the 2008 General Election, adding that with Devamany's victory MIC will be able to complete its services to the people.

"I believe he (Devamany) can continue all the works that have been stopped... All the works that have not been completed," Samy said.

"Within four months we have managed to close the loopholes."

Across the road from where the BN supporters gathered, an array of red, blue, green and white flags representing the Pakatan Rakyat coalition escorted Dr. Jeyakumar, who won the seat in the last general election.

"The people know how we have served them. Our strength lies in our service to our constituents," he said.

"There are about 35 communities here and from there we have resolved almost 3, 500 issues, mostly regarding agricultural land," Dr Jeyakumar added.

Although their problems have been resolved, he stressed that changes need authority and authority can only come with the system.

"Thus my winning alone is not enough. We must win the state to bring reforms and changes," he said.

Asked about his contenders for the seat, Dr Jeyakumar, 58, said this is the fourth time he is contesting and all these years the independent candidates usually do not get more than 1,000 votes.

The BN candidate's strength is in its machinery and funding, he said adding that there are rumours that BN is spending RM6 million to campaign at Sungai Siput. Devamany denied this.

Dr Jeyakumar said that it is not just about whether the candidate is a good person or not. "Yes I have known Devamany for 30 years now and we are good friends but it is not whether Devamany is a good or bad person," he said. "It is whether he is able to reduce the corruption within the party and be firm to reform.

"Most of the time the party takes control and Devamany may have to compromise, which is not good for long term changes," he said.