YONG PENG • The Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), a component party of Malaysia's ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN), aims to field fresh faces in more than half of its allotted seats in the next general election.
The MIC president, Datuk Seri S. Subramaniam, said the party was looking at having new candidates in at least 60 per cent of its seats.
"We usually stand in nine parliamentary and 19 state seats throughout the country and we aim to have at least 60 per cent new faces."
MIC currently has four representatives in Parliament, out of the 222 MPs in total.
"In Johor alone, we have an allocation of one parliamentary seat and four state seats, for which new faces have been identified and are likely to represent the party," he told reporters last Friday.
"We have identified a few potential leaders for each seat in Johor and they will undergo screening before the selection is finalised," added Dr Subramaniam, who is also Health Minister.
In Johor, MIC holds the Segamat parliamentary constituency through Dr Subramaniam.
At the last general election in 2013, the party won three state seats in Johor - Gambir, Tenggaroh and Kahang - but lost Puteri Wangsa to the opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia.
The Puteri Wangsa state seat would be challenging, said Dr Subramaniam.
"We will discuss the fate of that seat with the Barisan leadership," he said.
The names of the shortlisted MIC candidates have been submitted to Prime Minister Najib Razak, who leads BN, for consideration, said Dr Subramaniam.
On reports that Umno - the Malay-dominant party that is the linchpin of BN - was eyeing certain MIC seats, Dr Subramaniam said it was not unusual for grassroots leaders to make such suggestions.
He said that "at the end of the day, the national Barisan leadership has the final say".
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK