May 23, 06 4:07pm , Malaysiakini
MIC president S Samy Vellu has praised those who 'saved' democracy by torching copies of two Tamil dailies over the weekend.
“He who burned (the newspapers) was not barbaric. He burned to save democracy. I praise that person,” he was quoted as saying by Makkal Osai.
Samy Vellu, who is also works minister, said this when addressing the Selangor MIC convention last night. His estranged deputy S Subramaniam was also present.
On Saturday, a group of MIC members in Johor had burned
copies of Makkal Osai
and Tamil Nanban
for allegedly distorting the statements of the party president.
The dailies drew flak when they reported
Samy Vellu as saying that former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad had neglected the Indian community.
The veteran politician later denied
this and accused the dailies - which have since defended their reports - of deliberately distorting his remarks.
He said the newspapers were aligned to Subramaniam and blamed
the latter for the controversy. Subramaniam had denied
Samy Vellu had also instructed his lawyers to initiate legal action against the two dailes.
Yesterday, Makkal Osai reported that it had been receiving calls from unidentified individuals who threatened to burn its office.
The 'real barbarians'
Meanwhile, Samy Vellu told the MIC Selangor delegates that those who misquoted him were the real ‘barbarians’ and not those who set fire to the dailies.
The 70-year-old politician also revealed that he had been receiving threatening SMS (short messaging service).
“I will go wherever I want. I have officers to protect me. Who do they have? Nobody can do anything to me,” he was quoted as saying by Tamil Nanban.
Makkal Osai, on the other hand, quoted him as saying: “Don’t try to scare me. I won’t be afraid. Death only comes once.”
The MIC president also reiterated to the delegates that Mahathir had done much for the Indian community.
He said only those who were 'stupid' would state otherwise.
Turning to the problems in MIC, he said the party cannot be shaken and those who tried to do so, would fall.
Tamil Nesan, a daily aligned to Samy Vellu, quoted him as saying that he had waged a war for the betterment of the Indian community and not against any ‘individual’.
Who does the community want?, What can that person do? These are the things that the party president said he wanted to spell out.
He said the leaders selected must be able to bring change and prosperity to the community.
I'm not afraid
In a related development, Subramaniam said he never had any problems with his boss but it was the latter who wanted to fight him.
According to a Tamil Nanban report, the MIC deputy president said he had always supported and adhered to the plans and policies implemented by the president.
“I am contesting (to defend the deputy presidency) based on the democratic framework of the party. If the president had decided to being someone else (for the number two post) and support that candidate, it is his right to do so. Nobody can stop him.
“I am not afraid to face a challenge. Nobody can stop me from asking the support of the delegates,” he added.
It is common knowledge that ties have been strained for a long time between Samy Vellu and his deputy.
The tension escalated this year when the president named current vice-president G Palanivel as his preferred choice for the number two post.