Lim Kit Siang
Feb 19, 2008
Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu has become the most unpopular politician in
the country and probably in Malaysian history, being booed, jeered, car
blocked, thrown stones, rotten eggs and even slippers almost every day
in public places.
This public rejection of Samy Vellu has spread to MIC and Barisan
Nasional (BN) functions, with other MIC and BN leaders becoming also
the target of public resentment and fury, as illustrated by the
meet-the-people session led by Perak Mentri Besar and Barisan Nasional
chief Datuk Seri Mohamad Tajol Rosli Ghazali in Buntong, Ipoh yesterday.
The political days of Samy Vellu, MIC President and sole Indian
Cabinet Minister for over 28 years, are numbered. Moves in fact are
afoot for the former deputy president, Datuk S. Subramaniam, to become
the next MIC leader as Samy Vellu is slowly phased out of the political
I expect Subra to make a political comeback on Sunday on his
nomination as a Barisan Nasional candidate for the 12th general
election and preparatory to his joining the Cabinet – something Subra
had been denied and been waiting for nearly three decades.
I understand that there are some Umno “movers-and-shakers” who want
a faster pace of ending the political days of Samy Vellu – wanting to
force Samy’s political retirement and withdrawal as candidate in the
next general election.
I am not interested in the internal politicking of UMNO, MIC, MCA,
Gerakan or Barisan Nasional component parties but what must be a matter
of grave national concern is the consolidation of Umno political
hegemony and relentless marginalization of the other BN component
parties like MCA, Gerakan and MIC.
Apart from this example of some Umno “movers-and-shakers” wanting to
pressurize Samy Vellu to step down as MIC President, showing the
utterly marginalized role of MIC in BN, there is a host of examples of
greater Umno political hegemony at the price of relentless
marginalization of MCA, Gerakan, MIC and other BN component parties.
Another recent example is the farce of the Acting Gerakan President,
Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, submitting three names to the Barisan
Nasional Chairman Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to pick on who
should be the next Penang Gerakan Chief Minister – a most unprecedented
surrendering of the Gerakan prerogative to decide who should be the
next Penang Gerakan Chief Minister.
When Tsu Koon became Penang Chief Minister in 1990, it was the
decision of the Gerakan Central Working Committee (although more
correctly the then Gerakan President Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik) in
its choice between two candidates – Tsu Koon or Dr. Goh Cheng Teik.
The Gerakan CWC took the final decision on Tsu Koon as the Penang
Gerakan Chief Minister to replace Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu in 1990 and the
then Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad was not given two names
by the Gerakan President to decide on who should be the Gerakan
Penang Chief Minister.
If Mahathir could respect Gerakan’s right, power and prerogative to
decide on who should be the next Gerakan Penang Chief Minister, why is
this political situation not respected by Abdullah 18 years later?
Why should Tsu Koon and Gerakan surrender its power to pick the next
Penang Gerakan Chief Minister – if the Gerakan had not been terribly
marginalized in the past 18 years since 1990 that it dare not even
stand on its unchallenged prerogative less than two decades ago?
Is Abdullah prepared to return the list of three names back to Tsu
Koon, stating that he would respect the Gerakan’s prerogative to decide
who should be the next Penang Gerakan Chief Minister?
The instances of MCA being relentlessly marginalized in the Barisan Nasional in the past few decades will fill volumes.