They are not big in number, but the Indian community in Kemaman, a district in the south of Terengganu, wants the candidate elected as their parliamentary representative in this by-election to be vocal enough to raise the voice of the minority at the federal level.
Living in a society where the Malays are the majority, the Indian community in the Kemaman parliamentary constituency believe they also have equal rights and opportunities, as well as play an important role in helping to develop the area.
An elector in the constituency, E. Navin, 24, who is going to the polls for the third time in a year, hoped that the person to be elected as the Kemaman Member of Parliament (MP) could discharge the responsibilities entrusted upon him well and to take care of every constituent, regardless of religion and race.
“The Indian community in Kemaman has assimilated their life with the way of life of the Malays. We have no problem, we understand and respect each other’s way of life.
“Our hope is that the person to be elected as our MP has a noble heart and looks into the welfare of his constituents by treating them equally regardless of their race and religion,” said the Universiti Malaya (UM) Bachelor of International and Strategic Studies graduate to Bernama.
Out of a total of 141,790 eligible voters in the by-election, about 800 of them are Indian voters.
The Kemaman by-election, called following the Sept 26 decision by the Terengganu Elections Court to nullify PAS candidate Che Alias Hamid’s victory in the 15th general election, witnessed a straight fight between Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Gen (B) Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor and Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar, of PAS.
Navin said one of the main needs of the Indian community in Kemaman is a community hall as a venue for them to carry out social, welfare and spiritual activities.
“In Kemaman there is only one temple which is the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple on Jalan Air Puteh, but not everything can be done in the temple because it is a house of worship.
“What we need is a community hall for us to carry out social activities,” he added.
Meanwhile, a housewife from Kampung Mak Chili, R. Vinothini, 38, hoped that a Tamil teacher be placed in a school in Kemaman to give Indian students the opportunity to learn the language.
“Even if there are less than 15 students, they should be given the opportunity to learn Tamil… this is because most Indian children can speak the language, but they cannot read and write Tamil,” she said.
Goat breeder, S Sarita, 30, wants the standard of education of Indian children to improve and expressed the hope that the elected representative could help to reduce the number of school dropouts among Indian children.
“We don’t need a Tamil school because there are not many of them, but we need to focus on the education of these Indian children so that they are interested in learning, don’t get caught up in bad things like drugs and help the Indian community change their lives.
“The rising cost of living is also burdening the people and this needs to be given attention to by the MP. The cost of living in Kemaman is as high as in Kuala Lumpur, but the minimum wage given is low, not like in Kuala Lumpur,” he added.
The Election Commission (EC) has set this Saturday (Dec 2) as polling day for the Kemaman by-election.
Source : The Star