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No salvation for Indians unless...

Contributed by Anonymous on Tuesday, June 20 @ 05:22:08 CDT

Poor Indian, Malaysiakini
Jun 19, 06 5:28pm
Much has been said about the poor Indian community and the MIC and in summary, everything points to the common denominator that the Indian community is akin to an orphan in his own house and the MIC is irrelevant. Yes, it is not an exaggeration to say that the MIC is irrelevant, and whether it exists or not is immaterial. The crumbs and leftovers which the Indians are getting now will continue irrespective of the MIC’s presence.

To make the MIC more relevant to the Indian community there has to be a complete overhaul with the present redundant leader told to just vamoose. The present leadership with a paper tiger (also known as the MIC president) has lost its dignity over the last 25 years or so. He has made the party a stooge and an easy pushover at the mercy of the Umnoputras.

He has sold out the Indian community outright. His ego-incensed megalomania has also made him do away with the party’s second full ministership (not that with another minister the community will be imbued with milk and hone). With a group of the deaf and dumb swaying under his orders, his authoritarian dictatorship continues unabated.

It is worth noting that this is the same guy who had vociferously and viciously questioned the late Tun Sambanthan on what the latter had done for the community after 17 years of being the MIC president. Now it’s time for the Indian community to ask Samy what he has done for the Indian community after being MIC leader for 27 years. The Indian equity when compared with the other communities is a pittance amounting to beggary with not even a two percent.

The rides he has taken the community on is there for everyone to see. MIC delegates, the redundant, deadwood, whoever you are, please wake up and do something for the Indian community. For the start, what you can do is to get rid of this guy and his cohorts and infuse fresh blood devoid of any mutant from the past into the MIC. Please do it and find salvation!
MIC horses in the final lap

Baradan Kuppusamy, Malaysiakini
Jun 20, 06 12:06pm
The race to win a berth in the MIC elections has entered the final lap and the outcome is in the hands of the 1,441 voters who will decide on Saturday.

How they decide will make or break many a political career.

Top most on the minds of the party rank and file is whether challenger and in*****bent vice-president since 1994, G Palanivel can unseat veteran S Subramaniam, the in*****bent deputy president since 1981.

All attention is on them and the many twists and turns of their tussles.

For Palanivel, a victory signals his coming of age and emerging from the shadows of party president S Samy Vellu. It means his career has entered the final approach with the big prize just one step away.

“Defeat is not in my equation,” he told some 300 cheering voters in Kajang on Sunday.

Defeat for Subramaniam spells the end of a long political career that started in 1973 when he was made executive secretary, a paid position, of the MIC by then president V Manicavasagam who had hoped the handsome newcomer would marry his daughter.

It did not happen that way and worst Manicavasagam suddenly died leaving the newcomer without a patron, a deficit Subramaniam still suffers from.

Victory, no matter how unlikely, will just return Subramaniam to where he came from – as a loner and isolated deputy president waiting for the grand prize to fall on his lap.

“I am sure of victory, 70 percent of delegates are with me,” Subramaniam told reporters last week moving away from his underdog tag and into the political limelight.

While Subramaniam is criss-crossing the country knocking on doors of individual voters, Palanivel is marching up and down meeting voters in small groups of 20 to 50 voters.
Don't be afraid 

While the two leaders overtly battle for the hearts and minds of the same voters, the newspapers aligned with them are taking the battle in different directions.

In the two Tamil dailies aligned with Subramaniam, it is Samy Vellu who is portrayed as Subramaniam’s enemy. It is Samy Vellu who is called to answer to many now familiar accusations.

One of Subramaniam’s many interview in TV3 did not go down well with Samy Vellu’s supporters.

In that interview last Saturday, Subramaniam urged voters not to be frightened.

He said in Tamil “don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid” three times urging voters to be brave and back him up.

“What does he mean…are you all cowards? Are you unable to make a decision? Are you all scared of somebody? Are we a party of cowards?” asked Palanivel at a campaign meeting in Selangor.

"He is disparaging the party," he said.

As the campaign heats up voters have been inundated with pleas, pamphlets, and numerous dinners at plush restaurants and hotels.

“I attend something like five to seven functions a day,” said a veteran branch chairperson from Kuala Langat. “How much can one eat, there’s so much food that is wasted.”

Immediately after one contestant has appeared to bombard voters and leave, another contestant and his retinue appear on the horizon.

“Don’t forget me,” the contestants say, clasping the hands of voters and with eyes pleading for the vote. The usual answer is, “Don’t worry I won’t let you down.”

Private bashing

One reason for the intense courtship is that the campaign is conducted at multiple levels.

At the very top is Samy Vellu who is leading his “official line-up” on a road show to meet voters. The next is Palanivel and Subramaniam criss-crossing the country followed by the vice-presidents who are all campaigning independently.

When they are not following Samy Vellu on his carnival, they are on their own beating down doors and demanding audiences.

“One leader knocked on my door at 3am,” said a delegate from Tampin, in Negri Sembilan. “He has never greeted me personally before but there he was outside my door.”

Samy Vellu’s show started last Friday with a first stop in Ipoh and on Sunday the carnival moved to Johor and on Monday onwards to Perlis, Kedah and Penang.

It ends with a posh gathering of 407 delegates from Selangor - the biggest contingent - at the Pan Pacific Hotel on Friday.

Samy Vellu has fielded his ‘official’ candidates for all the posts - deputy president, three vice-presidents post and 23 in the Central Working Committee (CWC).

The three vice-presidents he is supporting are in*****bents S Veerasingham and KS Nijhar and newcomer and party secretary general S Sothinathan.

He has also fielded a team of 23 people for the 23 vacancies in the CWC.

The ‘official’ team is being challenged by Subramaniam for deputy and for vice-president VKK Teagarajan, a businessman, former assemblyman E Yohevel, veteran M Muthupalaniappan and a lightweight from Klang, P Thiagarasan.

It is a free-for-all for the CWC contest with 51 aspirants in the fray.

All of Samy Vellu’s meetings are held at plush hotels and behind close doors and not even reported in his Tamil Nesan newspaper.

Each meeting is only for delegates of that particular state and Samy Vellu’s refrain is always the same – Subramaniam is unfit, is a back stabber and it is time to discard him.

As he slams Subramaniam, Samy Vellu also praises Palanivel.

“I can work with him. He is very hard-working, he thinks of the problems of the Indian community. Make the change, it is in your hands,” Samy Vellu tells all at each gathering.

Uphill battle

It is clear the majority of the delegates will buy the now familiar exhortation simply because it comes from Samy Vellu and that they are his loyal supporters.

But Samy Vellu’s arguments will carry little weight among Subramaniam’s hardcore supporters who have heard it all many times over.

“There are very few fence sitters in the MIC. One is either with Samy Vellu or against him,” said a Johor MIC leader.

“There are some younger voters who are independent minded and willing to be persuaded but the loyalty of the majority of delegates is a decided thing,” he said.

Although Subramaniam’s camp publicly says they are ahead with 70 percent of the votes, privately they admit it is a tough uphill battle.

“We are facing Samy Vellu and Palanivel together and the power and influence of in*****bency especially the ministerial positions they hold,” a veteran Subramaniam supporter said.

“However Subramaniam is no pushover. He fought and narrowly lost to Samy Vellu in 1989. Since then he survived many crisis to remain deputy president,” he said. “This is the toughest battle of it all.”

Palanivel, who is letting his track record as Hulu Selangor MP since 1990 and deputy minister since 1994 speak for him, tells voters that the time for change has arrived.

“Twenty-seven years as deputy is long enough. What more does he wants to do especially when the president doesn’t want him, can’t work with him,” he said. “It is natural for him to want someone who can work with him.”

“The president has confidence in me,” Palanivel says.

Palanivel campaigns that the election is a contest between stability, continuity and disunity and chaos.

Subramaniam on the other insist he is getting on well with Samy Vellu, has never stabbed him in the back and will work with him to achieve the party’s objectives.
“The delegates elected me as deputy, they have confidence. They want to retain me again,” he argues.

United stand

Palanivel declines to discuss numbers but his aides say the challenger’s personal target is to cross the 1,000 vote mark.

“For us it is not a matter of winning but winning by a comfortable majority,” the aide said.

“It is a matter of pride for us. Palanivel must win big and delegates must make it happen big so that Samy Vellu can walk tall. So that all BN and opposition parties will know that the MIC is united under his leadership,” the aide said. “Otherwise it is disunity, chaos and a negative signal to all Malaysians.”

“We are a minority community and we need to be united and show one voice, not many voices,” he said.

These are issues that the voter has to weigh and decide. The election is not without some comic relief.

Many of Samy Vellu’s former allies turned enemies have emerged out of the woodwork to torture the president with now familiar accusations.

Former Samy Vellu sidekick V Govindaraj is vociferously claiming he had fixed the votes for Samy Vellu giving him a 26-vote victory over Subramaniam in the deputy president’s contest in 1978.

But he refuses to say how he did it.

Yesterday, Govindaraj resurfaced again asking Samy Vellu to account for all the money the government has given to him for one scheme or other in the last 26 years.

“He must publicly account for it or resign,” he charged making headlines in the two Tamil dailies aligned with Subramaniam.

BARADAN KUPPUSAMY is a veteran Malaysian journalist. This is the sixth of a special series of articles on the forthcoming MIC elections.



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