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Feb 14, 2008

PSM flags taken down in Semenyih

Malaysiakini - Even before the official campaign period starts, the yet-to-be-registered Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) has run into trouble, or is trouble knocking on the party?

Party members claimed that their campaign was sabotaged by their rivals in the BN when the Kajang Municipal Council (MPKJ) confiscated PSM flags in the Semenyih state constituency in Selangor two days ago.

The party’s media coordinator for the Semenyih constituency, E. Nalini, claimed in a statement that the incident was caused by their opponents’ fear of PSM’s expanding influence in the area.

Semenyih has been allocated to PSM by the opposition alliance and its secretary-general S. Arutchelvan is expected to vie for the seat under the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) banner.

“BN seemed to be panicking when PSM flags are raised in strategic locations in the Semenyih constituency and they have used MPKJ to decelerate our campaigning efforts by confiscating our flags”, Nalini said.

When contacted, Arutchelvan (left) said BN flags were also put up but we were not “given the same treatment” by MPKJ.

He alleged that only PSM flags were taken down by the local council in the Semenyih area and not in other constituencies.

However, a MPKJ official denied that the council was acting on behalf of the ruling party. He explained that political parties are not permitted to fly their flags publicly until nomination day.

Quietly confident

Meanwhile, PSM members are quietly confident of winning the Semenyih seat although they expect a tough battle ahead with the BN-Umno candidate.

This confidence stemmed from the fact that PSM’s Arutchelvan has been doing persistent groundwork in the area for the past 20 years. This will be Arutchelvan’s electoral debut.

Semenyih is a Malay-majority area with 53 percent, followed by Chinese 29.6 percent and Indians at 16.4 percent.

The Semenyih incumbent is Umno’s Ahmad Kuris Mohd Nor who won the seat by 13,280 votes - a landslide victory against PAS’ Mohd Khairuddin Othman’s 5,425 votes.

Nomination day for the 12th General Election is Feb 24 with polling on March 8.


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