Ijok goes to the polls tomorrow, so when my good friend Alex Thiagarasan rang me yesterday to invite me to join him on a visit to Ijok this morning, I thought it was a good opportunity not to be missed. Alex, a businessman and a Klang Town Councillor is also the head of the Klang division of the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC). I thought this would give me the rare chance of observing up close and personal the well-oiled Barisan Nasional election machinery at work.
Ijok, a one horse town in Selangor was indeed gripped by the by-election fever with flags, posters and buntings everywhere. There was a carnival atmosphere but security was tight with many police road blocks. However, despite the fact that our car had a Klang Town Councillor's official crest, we were stopped at the very first road block into town, only to be told that it was all OK and to proceed.
At Coalfield, with Alex (in dark glasses) and YB Devamany
Our first stop was at the MIC Ladang Coalfield's Pusat Gerakan or operations center where we met its head Y.B. En. S.K. Devamany, who is the Barisan Nasional MP for Cameron Highlands. Having read about it in blogs, I wasn't really surprised to see the newly tarred roads leading into the estate right up to the workers' brightly painted living quarters. I did wonder whether taxpayers money was used to pave what obviously were private roads.
"Vicky" and me
On our way back, we stopped in Batang Berjuntai (!) to have a quick chicken curry lunch with Y.B. En. S. A. Vigneswaran a.k.a. "Vicky", parliamentary secretary to the Ministry of Youth and Sports who is also the national head of MIC Youth. When he was a young boy, Vicky's family and mine were neighbours staying just a couple of doors away in Jalan Seroja, Port Klang. This was in the mid 70's when I first started my career with the port.