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Maika: Over 100 People Hold Protest In Front Of MIC Building

Contributed by Anonymous on Thursday, July 30 @ 09:30:07 CDT

KUALA LUMPUR, July 30 (Bernama) -- Traffic along Jalan Ipoh and Jalan Tun Razak here was reduced to a crawl for almost two hours since 11am today when an illegal gathering took place in from of the MIC's headquarters.

Dang Wangi police chief ACP Zulkarnain Abdul Rahman said the gathering of more than 100 individuals, led by several leaders from DAP and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), had started at a private hospital in Jalan Rahmat before proceeding to the MIC building.

He said to prevent the situation from getting out of hand, police had to mobilise the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU).

"The FRU managed to control the situation and no arrests were made," he told reporters.

He said police also confiscated several banners and dispersed the assembly around 1pm.

The protestors were unhappy over claims that MIC's Maika Holdings planned to buy over land in Kg Buah Pala in Penang. Kg Buah Pala is an Indian settlement and its residents are facing eviction to make way for development.

Among the DAP and PKR leaders involved were DAP Vice-Chairman M Kula Segaran, DAP Deputy Secretary-General Prof P Ramasamy, who is also Penang Deputy Chief Minister II, PKR Vice-President R. Sivarasan and Klang Member of Parliament P S. Manikavasagam.

Face-off at MIC headquarters over Maika scandal
Police move in to break up the fracas at the MIC headquarters. — Picture by Jack Ooi
By Debra Chong KUALA LUMPUR, July 30 – Hundreds of anti-MIC protesters faced off with party loyalists in front of the party’s headquarters in the city centre here, causing the police to close major roads and call in reinforcements to break up the demonstration. But the four large Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) trucks which were sent to the scene near the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) only seemed to impede the traffic flow, when the pilot truck got stuck while making a turn on a narrow side road leading to the MIC headquarters in Jalan Rahmat. The protest is believed to have been organised by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders galvanising opposition against the MIC over the Maika shares scandal in retaliation against the Barisan Nasional (BN) Indian party's recent interference in Penang over the Kampung Buah Pala land tussle. “Today's memo is tit-for-tat issue for Kampung Buah Pala,” Maika Holdings chief executive, Vel Paari, told reporters in a press conference later. Vel, who is also the son of MIC president and Maika founder Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, had earlier invited Selangor state executive councillor Ronnie Liu into his office to explain the hold-up in returning money to the grassroots shareholders. Liu, who is the DAP assemblyman for Pandamaran, had earlier led another anti-MIC group which had broken away from the main body of protesters headed by Penang's ethnic-Indian deputy chief minister P. Ramasamy. Both anti-MIC teams had grouped earlier this morning behind the Titiwangsa LRT station some 300 metres away. Most of them were elderly and claimed to be Maika shareholders. The few, energetic youthful faces in the crowd were spotted wearing PKR shirts and the orange-black combination favoured by the defunct Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) supporters. They were to march together to the Indian party headquarters, which also houses the practically bankrupt Maika Holdings, its investment arm, and present a six-point memorandum demanding money back for the grassroots shareholders. Vel said he had gone down with DAP's Liu to receive the six-point memorandum from Ramasamy, who was stuck at the gates in a clash with MIC loyalists.
But the 47-year-old took pains to point out the difference between the two issues affecting the Indian community. He said that on Maika, he could still settle the issue with loan funders Danaharta and CIMB to extend  its pay-back date while there appears to be no resolution in sight for the desperate residents in the Penang Indian village whose houses face are set to be pulled down on August 3. Vel said he was ready to repay the 60,000 Maika shareholders with money obtained from the sale of its cash cow and insurance subsidiary, Oriental Capital Assurance Berhad. But he was being blocked because of a court order against the sale by Maika's single biggest shareholder, Nesa Cooperatives, which is headed by former MIC deputy president Datuk S. Subramaniam, who is also Samy Vellu's biggest rival within the party. Vel said he is challenging the court order so that he can get sell the subsidiary as quickly as possible and reimburse the shareholders. The case is up for hearing in October. He claims he has been contacted by “two or three” other companies interested in the sale but only want to know when the injunction can be lifted. The clashes began when the anti-MIC group arrived in Jalan Rahmat and were met by hundreds of pro-MIC supporters who locked one of the two entrances into the party building, blocking their entry. The youthful-looking MIC loyalists jeered at the crowd stuck outside, and even brought out their own sets of banners denouncing Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng's handling of the Kampung Buah Pala issue to counter the PR's condemnation of Maika. A smart-looking man on making his way in, turned around and offered the protestors some money. Incensed, the anti-MIC crowd rushed forward, with one protestor jabbing angrily in the air and shouting: “You put your money back inside your pocket. You give us our money back!” His fellow protestors called the party loyalists liars and cheaters and yelled for the sprinkling of confused-looking police on duty to “arrest the gangsters” within. Apart from the shouting and shoving, the protest was mostly without any physical violence, barring a helmet being lobbed into the crowd standing outside the gates. The closest it came to a brawl was when two men from opposing teams started slapping and scratching at each other at the Tun Razak flyover after one of them threw away a banner belonging to the other. But the police reacted quickly and separated the duo, preventing further mishaps. MIC president Samy Vellu who was holding a meeting with members of the MIC central working committee (CWC) upstairs while the brouhaha was happening declined to comment at first. “Whoever is responsible has spoken. There's no need for me to say any more.” Samy Vellu said. But when pressed for a comment by a reporter in Tamil, he dodged the question, choosing instead to sneer at Ramasamy for his failure to stand up to his boss over Kampung Buah Pala issue, which was one of two matters discussed by the CWC today. Samy Vellu said the village of cowherds must continue to hold Lim Guan Eng responsible because it was he who signed and sealed the transfer of the land on wich their houses sit to a private developer when he took over as Chief Minister last year. The Indian party chief repeated the offer to pay the Penang government RM3.2 million for the land, even as his son in a separate press conference just minutes earlier noted that the value had risen to RM150 million. Vel also admitted that MIC had made failed to protect the interests of the Indian community in Penang. “Not only Pakatan is to blame. We also are to blame. At that time, we didn’t do much to do anything for the residents,” he said. But his father held the opposite view. “All this happened after Lim Guan Eng became the Chief Minister. They took the payment from the company. Because of that, they don’t want to help the residents of Kampung Buah Pala,” said Samy Vellu, laying the blame squarely on the DAP leader's shoulders.




Pic: NST,



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