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Samy takes on hecklers in Prai

Contributed by Anonymous on Sunday, February 17 @ 19:30:57 CST

The Star, Monday February 18, 2008
PRAI: MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu took a group of young hecklers “head-on” at Chai Leng Park when he walked straight up to them to find out what their grievances were.

The youths had been shouting aloud that the MIC had not looked after their interests and related their plight to a Kuala Lumpur-based MIC official, who later briefed Samy Vellu.

After the meeting with the Malay electorate, he walked straight to the group and enquired what the problem was.

One of the youths came forward and explained that they were disappointed with the party, as the state assemblyman Datuk K. Rajapathy had failed to visit their place despite several requests.

“We know that Rajapathy will also prevent you from visiting the place,” said one of the youth.

But Samy Vellu cut him off and said that he was the minister and would not be afraid to visit any alley, street or village.

“I am a minister and no one can stop me from going anywhere. I am not afraid of anyone and will come,” he said, as he walked with the youths and the entourage into Kg Main Road in Prai on Saturday.

A greater shock awaited the MIC president when he saw a monsoon drain filled with green algae and clogged rubbish becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Samy Vellu immediately requested Rajapathy and the other MIC officials to ensure that the drains were cleaned up within two days and asked the residents to call him if it was not done.

Pressure mounts on Samy to go K Kabilan | Feb 17, 08 3:19pm Several MIC leaders are quietly worried that party president S Samy Vellu has become a liability and should be replaced soon.

However they are clueless as to how they can convince him to step down from his party and government posts.

Samy Vellu, also the works minister, looks set to contest for the Sungai Siput constituency in the March 8 general election, a seat which he retained since 1974. He has been the party president for the past 29 years.

“Recently we see that many members of the community have been publicly vocal in blaming Samy Vellu for the failures of the community,” said a party veteran.

“The community’s anger has been escalating since the Nov 25 Hindraf rally. First it was against the government, and then it was against MIC but now it is increasingly more against Samy Vellu,” he added.

He cited the incident in Butterworth last night when a group of angry Indians confronted Samy Vellu, demanding him to be answerable to the police action taken against supporters of Hindu Rights Action Force in Kuala Lumpur earlier in the day.

The group blocked Samy Vellu’s car from leaving after a function and jeered him for being unable to help the community. Samy Vellu was stuck in his car for more than 30 minutes and was only ‘rescued’ by a team of police outriders. (photo, left)

“This is not the first time the crowd had openly faced Samy Vellu in the public, asking him to explain why the community had failed,” said the leader.        

The Butterworth incident was the second such incident in the past one week.

Earlier in the week, Samy Vellu was also similarly surrounded and heckled by some youths during the foundation laying ceremony for a Tamil school in Selangor. Another group of some 30 people also held placards opposing Samy Vellu at the same function.(photo, right)

The police had to be called in to escort the veteran politician from the area.

“And I am sure this is not going to end with these two incidents. The anger on the ground in not going away. In fact, it is increasing. We realise this but the party can only put a brave face and claim that we can counter them,” added another MIC division level leader who witnessed the Butterworth incident last night.

No sense of responsibility

M Mayilsamy was in the group of people who blocked Samy Vellu’s car last night. He said that the group was angry with the police action which sprayed water and fired teargas at Hindraf supporters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday morning.

“They were innocent people who had gathered to give roses to the prime minister. Not a single MIC leader spoke out against the police action. We wanted to ask Samy Vellu on why he was not in support for calls for reform for the community

“But he choose to remain silent in the car, and at one stage called the Hindraf supporters who were arrested by the police as criminals,” added Mayilsamy.

“That got us angry. Criminals? These were normal folks who went to hand in roses to the PM. They weren’t armed. How can Samy just label them as such. He has not sense of responsibility for the community,” he charged.

Several MIC leaders contacted by Malaysiakini today refused to publicly comment on the police action on the Hindraf gathering. And they were afraid to comment on the mounting criticism against the party boss.

Ever since the Hindraf rally on Nov 25 which called for the government to redress the sidelining of the Indian community in this country, a simmering discontent has appeared among the Indian community over the performance of Samy Vellu. The grassroots feeling is that he has not done enough for the upliftment of the community.

Recently the government acknowledged that the community had legitimate grievance and had promised to overcome them.

However the community’s anger has not dissipated, instead it has been channelled at Samy Vellu.

Mounting pressure

However until now MIC leaders have regrouped behind Samy Vellu, saying that only he can ensure that the government fulfills whatever demands that are made via MIC, the sole Indian representative in the government.

In his defence, they have also said that Samy Vellu had never failed to ask the government to help uplift the community and blamed the government’s poor delivery system for the failures in the government programmes and aides reaching the community.

“But it does not look like the community is going to buy this. They want immediate government equality actions and feel that such actions need not be channelled through MIC,” said political observer and local government veteran M Pithchay.

“Samy Vellu can no longer go around the country and claim that he would get the government to uplift the community. No one will believe him. He has lost his credibility,” he added.

Such sentiments are now slowly being admitted by MIC leaders. Openly they say that Samy Vellu should contest in Sungai Siput. Privately they are wondering how to convince him to give up and leave.

“Perhaps he should adhere to the prime minister’s remarks the other day that Samy Vellu might not put his name up as a candidate,” added a party leader.

MIC Information Chief M Saravanan however was quick to defend his boss.

“What will they achieve if he goes? Is he to be solely blamed for the failures of the community?” he asked.

But a large segment of the community believes that Samy Vellu’s departure would be a good start for the upliftment of the community as he comes under increasing pressure to do so in the run up to the elections.



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