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MIC Elections 2009: For MIC, a no-holds-barred campaign for party’s future

Contributed by Anonymous on Saturday, August 08 @ 11:23:11 CDT

By Baradan Kuppusamy,
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 8 — An open, bitter and desperate battle has erupted between supporters of MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu and his arch rival Datuk S. Subramaniam, who is contesting the deputy presidency in the Sept 12 party elections against Samy Vellu's nominee, in*****bent deputy president Datuk G. Palanivel.

The war is being fought between supporters of Samy Vellu led by his son Vel Paari and supporters of Subramaniam led by millionaire businessman and philanthropist Oms Thiagarajan and others in Subramaniam's camp. The battle, which started last week, is being waged in the pages of the rival Tamil dailies — Samy Vellu’s Tamil Nesan and Subramanian’s Makkal Osai. The circulation of both dailies has jumped dramatically and readers are having a field day enjoying the juicy revelations of one side against the other. A lot is being revealed — secret meetings at the PJ Hilton, the death of a young woman lawyer who was a close friend of K. Sujatha, the woman romantically linked with Paari who died after drinking weedkiller. Plots, sex, murder and mayhem — everything is being freely alleged without caution to legal suits by the rivals camps against each other. Yesterday, Subramaniam broke his silence by saying that if the mud slinging continued he “would be forced to retaliate”. Palanivel is keeping a stony silence At the core of the muckraking is political desperation, MIC insiders said. For the first time in his 30-year hold on the MIC, Samy Vellu is unsure whether the MIC election results will play out the way he has written it. “His grip on the party has weakened after March 8, after he lost Sungei Siput and after he lost the Works Ministry he lost the golden pot,” said a former MIC vice-president. “They (Samy and his camp) are desperate… they feel they are losing control and that the election is slipping away. “You can see their desperation in the way the MIC campaign has turned out — people who criticise Samy Vellu or go against the written script are disciplined, threatened and issued with show-cause letters of expulsion,” the MIC leader said. “Sometimes disciplinary letters are hand delivered within 24 hours of the alleged offence,” the MIC leader said, citing the case of Kelana Jaya MIC division vice-chairman P. Subramaniam who announced he was contesting as vice-president on Thursday. He was issued a show-cause letter for alleged tarnishing the party image for saying “we need wise men, not yes-men” in the MIC. The newspaper war first started when Paari fired the first salvo in the Tamil Nesan on Aug 28 by accusing Subramaniam of being a liar and traitor for taking an injunction (in 2006) to stop Maika Holdings from selling its profitable insurance arm to pay off shareholders. Paari gave a lengthy full-page explanation arguing that he had a buyer and was able to pay RM1.75 per share until Subramaniam, out of personal avarice, scuttled the whole affair. While Subramaniam maintained a studied silence over the accusation, his people and others retaliated by saying that Maika was ruined by Samy Vellu and his son and not by Subramaniam or the Subra-controlled Nesa Cooperative that applied for the injunction, which is still in force. In fact they saved Maika Holdings, they claim. In another article, Paari fingered Oms Thiagarajan, alleging the Klang-based millionaire had secretly met him at the PJ Hilton and begged him to intervene with his father to "save" Subramaniam and "ditch" Palanivel. Paari also alleged that Thiagarajan had paid the wages of about RM5,000 a month for P. Selvarani, the lawyer who before her death was working at the legal firm owned by Hindraf founder P. Uthayakumar. Paari alleged that Thiagarajan "cried "uncontrollably on hearing Selvarani had died and in the process dragged Kapar MP S. Manikavasagam into the controversy, alleging that the PKR MP had begged him to settle "some matters" he had with the police. Thiagarajan shot back in Subramaniam's Makkal Osai by admitting he had paid Selvarani's wages but denied other allegations like he was the man behind a campaign by Manikavasagam to discredit Paari over Sujatha’s death. Manikavasagam also waded into the controversy by rubbishing Paari’s claim that he had begged him for help. He also lodged a police report. Selvarani fell to her death in June 2008 from her 17th-floor apartment in Bukit OUG. She was only 29 and was due the next week to take up a posting with the UN. Police classified the case as sudden death but in his articles Paari speculated whether somebody could have pushed her down. The upshot of the week-long muckraking, MIC insiders said, is the fact that Samy Vellu’s campaign is not going as smoothly this time as before. Samy Vellu has put up his line-up called the “president’s team” and is touring the country to drum up support. Numerous candidates left out are entering the field to oppose his team, including his blue-eyed boy Datuk S. Sothinathan who is contesting for deputy president. “The rank-and-file mood is ugly against the president’s team,” MIC insiders said, adding various different strands in the MIC have come together to support Subramaniam’s candidature and his upcoming line-up. The mudslinging, they said, is to be seen in this context. Thiagarajan was openly using his money, influence and nationwide network to drum up support for Subramaniam, party insiders said, adding this was the reason why he was attacked by Paari in the Tamil Nesan. “He is a credible person because he financially supports numerous charities, Tamil schools and Tamil organisations,” said Klang businessman and MIC branch chairman K.P. Samy. “I think his campaign for Subra was effective and that’s why they picked on him… they want to damage his credibility,” Samy told The Malaysian Insider. The heated campaign and muckraking have just started and are set to get worst ahead of nomination on Aug 22. Both sides are planning a huge gathering of their respective supporters on that day to show their clout.



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