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Samy's 13 days

Contributed by Anonymous on Sunday, February 24 @ 06:47:12 CST

Samy Vellu
RK Anand | Feb 24, 08 Malaysiakini MIC president S Samy Vellu has two weeks to prove to the Indian community and Umno that he is still relevant.According to observers, the seasoned politician - who has led the party for 28 years - is probably facing his hardest battle ever.Previously, observers and think-tanks paid little or no attention to Indian votes. The community was always regarded as a true-blue supporter of Barisan Nasional (BN).


But this changed on the morning of Nov 25, 2007. Now, some have even bestowed upon the Indians the title of 'king-makers'.Thanks to the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), the community witnessed an overnight political awakening. Disgruntlement once confined to discussions at tea stalls and coffeeshops now spilled onto the streets. Everyone - including MIC - was shocked and awed. Hindraf was like striking a match to a haystack, noted one observer. The condition was just ripe for a blaze.Long resigned to their fate as third-class citizens - the community, especially the low-income group - suddenly became aware of their rights.From thugs to professionals, the call for change reverberated throughout the community.Country becomes 'pro-Indian'The news gained international attention and dealt a severe blow to the BN government's 'one happy family' campaign.Over the next few weeks, the country would become 'pro-Indian'. Scholarships, promotions, cultural festivals and public holidays - everything was just theirs for the asking. Hitherto unknown community leaders and concerned quarters would also crawl out of the woodwork to champion the cause. The media - with its so-called 'mainstream' and 'alternative' branches, would also rise to the occasion making room for more stories on the Indian community.Not wanting to be left out, the opposition jumped in with Anwar Ibrahim likening himself to 'Sivaji The Boss', a heroic character in a recent Tamil movie blockbuster.The country's 12th general election is also witnessing more Indian candidates running.MIC leaders found themselves in a fix. Officially, they defended the party and its performance but 'off the record' they conceded to having neglected the community and contributing to the frustration. While Anwar was a self-proclaimed hero, the community branded Samy Vellu a villain.Wherever the 71-year-old politician went, trouble followed. Obscenities were hurled and some even conducted funeral prayers for him.Every other day, text messages were forwarded from mobile phone to mobile phone condemning the president, his family and the party. The language was anything but flattering.Umno not pleasedApart from the community, sources claimed that Umno was also not pleased with the situation.In fact, they said Umno leaders - particularly the younger ones - saw Samy Vellu as an 'arrogant' leader and had been dissatisfied over him for some time.There was also talk that Umno wanted control of the Works Ministry and there was a possibility that the MIC president might be moved to another ministry after the elections.Under pressure, Samy Vellu announced last week that this could be his last term.There are also rumours that certain media had allegedly received instructions to highlight negative news regarding the beleaguered MIC supremo.Sources said Umno was now waiting to see if the MIC president could deliver the votes yet again. Should he fail, they would label him a liability to the ruling coalition and urge him to relinquish his position.The Hindraf situation had also created a case of strange bedfellows with Samy Vellu's foes coming to together to work towards one objective - his downfall.So the future does indeed look bleak for the veteran.Don't rule him outHowever, another observer said it would be a mistake to dismiss the party president as a beaten man just yet."He has seen many battles and emerged victorious. We can argue about what he has done or not done until the cows come home, but we cannot deny that he is a skilled politician."He is a brilliant strategist and is a person known to come out triumphant under adverse situations. He might just turn the tables on everyone and teach the Umno youngsters a thing or two about politics," he said.As for the elections, the observer said while there was much discontent among the Indian community on the ground, whether or not this would translate into votes for the opposition remained to be seen.Furthermore, he said when the MIC machinery 'springs to life it is capable of working miracles'. "This time around, they would pull out all stops. For all you know, MIC would retain its 19 state seats and nine parliamentary seats and silence the critics," he added.The March 8 polls - which coincides with Samy Vellu's birthday -would chart the Sungai Siput in*****bent's future course.

 
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