Palanivel, whose political career suffered a setback following his
unexpected defeat in the Barisan Nasional stronghold of Hulu Selangor
in last year's general election, described his chances as "very bright".
"With datuk seri's (party president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu) full
support, I think my chances are high (to win) in this election...(Samy
Vellu's backing) is one of the plus points for me," the 60-year-old
told reporters when nominations closed at the party headquarters here
On perception among party members and the Indian community at
large, that he is not capable to lead the party and the community since
he has been depending on Samy Vellu's support to further his political
career, Palanivel said:
"There is strong support from within the party and from outside.
Many people support me and I neither have enemies nor problems.
"Should I win (the deputy presidency), I will continue my work as before," he said.
"I am in this battle and I do not regard blessings from any
individual as important. What is important is the support from the
people, If there is support, it means we can face the challenge and
this is relevant to the current political situation," said the
Sothinathan, who was once Samy Vellu's protege, said that he
offered himself for the post to bring much-needed changes and reforms
in the party.
Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam -- the sole
Indian representative in the Cabinet -- is tipped to be a clear
favourite to win in the race for one of three vice-president posts in
the Sept 12 party polls, according to party insiders.
The 56-year-old skin specialist is expected to garner enough votes from the 1,464 delegates.
Thanking delegates for nominating him for the past, the father of
three said he would bank on his track record as a Cabinet minister and
The Segamat MP -- who was instrumental in the formation of the
Special Cabinet Committee for Indians whereby, his ministry is the
secretariat -- expressed gratitude to Samy Vellu for endorsing him as a
candidate for the post.
The sole woman candidate for vice president, P. Mariayee, 60, said
that she had been active in the party since 19, and had served the
Indian community in various posts in the party and government.
"I have helped many women caught in unfortunate situations
nationwide. I can contribute better, if given the opportunity," she
Samy Vellu's son, Vel Pari, said he was not contesting the
vice-president post as anticipated by many, as he wanted to first solve
the issue of Maika Holdings.
"I got to sort out the Maika issue first. Then, I will decide. Maybe, (in the) next election," he said.
Meanwhile, election committee chairman Datuk P. Vijayanathan
announced the the full list of candidates on a stage set up at the MIC
headquarters car park.
Subra’s show of force against Samy Vellu
By Baradan Kuppusamy
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 22 — The MIC election battle got off today with
supporters of deputy president contender Datuk S. Subramaniam
dominating the nomination process at the party headquarters with a rare
display of gumption, throbbing music and slogans for change.
S. Subramaniam, who will be contesting for the Deputy President's post,
being carried aloft by his suppoters at MIC headquarters. – Picture by
Choo Choy May
Hundreds of Indian youths wearing his Change for
the Better campaign buttons, t-shirts and others beating drums cheered
Subramaniam who was garlanded and hoisted on their shoulders amid
shouts of “Subra! Subra!”
Subramaniam entered the headquarters in Jalan Rahmat here wearing a
trademark red shirt accompanied by many of his veteran supporters and
scores of youths, who may not be members but are the very type of
voters that the MIC has lost and the Barisan Nasional desperately hopes
These are the youths that backed the Hindraf movement and voted
Pakatan Rakyat in the 2008 general election and are now carrying
Subramaniam into the MIC headquarters.
Some upper caste MIC members snickered and jeered as the youths beat
a type of pulsating beat called urumi, saying this particular beast is
associated with lower caste Hindus.
Caste is a major issue in this election with the numerically larger
lower caste members and delegates gathering under the “Nammavar” or
“Our People” banner and openly supporting Subramaniam.
The Subramaniam camp’s domination of the nomination process is
unusual when compared with the 2006 nomination which was dominated by
current in*****bent Datuk G. Palanivel and his mentor Samy Vellu.
This is probably Subramanian’s biggest show of force since he lost a
battle with Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu for the president’s post in 1989.
After that defeat he was sidelined and his presence in the MIC weakened considerably until today’s impressive show.
“It feels like we have returned to the MIC after being sidelined for over 15 years,” Subramaniam supporter K. P Samy told The Malaysian Insider.
Samy, who is one of eight contestants for the three vice-president’s
posts said: “The key word in this election is change…a wind of change
Unlike previous occasions, the “security boys” that are usually
present at big MIC functions were missing along with the FRU and the
Light Strike Force.
While another deputy president challenger Datuk S. Sothinathan was
busy shaking hands and campaigning with his supporters distributing
leaflets, in*****bent Palanivel was cloistered with Samy Vellu at their
command centre on the 7th floor of the MIC building.
“I have been campaigning across the country and am confident of
victory,” Palanivel told The Malaysian Insider, rejecting criticisms
that he is too reliant on Samy Vellu for his victory.
“I have the support of branches, divisions and state MIC leaders and together we will ensure victory,” he said.
Subramaniam said the party rank and file was in a mood for change and would vote for change.
Change is necessary, he said, if the MIC is to regain its glory and win back the hearts and minds of the Indian community.
At one time the MIC was the sole representative of the Indian…today
Indians are split and divided and we all know who is responsible for
this,” he said in a obvious reference to Samy Vellu but without naming
“This contest for the deputy president’s post is significant because
it will show Indians, the BN and the country that the MIC is ready for
change,” he said adding he expects to win and bring the change the
“I will unite the factions and bring the expelled members all back and make the MIC and Barisan strong again,” he said.
Sothinathan was too busy campaigning among the delegates to offer an
assessment of his standing and chances but MIC sources said he was
trailing in the three-cornered fight.
Samy Vellu who was expected to quit soon after the September 12
elections has however confirmed that he will stay until 2012, something
that has angered the BN and MIC party grassroots.
“If he stays…so what is the deputy president election for,” asked a
delegate. “We are all actually casting votes to keep Samy Vellu in
power. This is a disgrace,” the delegate said.
Subramaniam echoed the feeling, saying Samy Vellu was the fourth contestants in the three-cornered deputy president’s contest.
“He is president now he wants to be deputy president as well,”
Subramaniam said. “He is campaigning as if he is contesting for all the
Samy Vellu, president since 1979, is not enjoying the undivided support of the 1,500 delegates he had once commanded.
His defeat in Sungei Siput in 2008, the loss of the patronage power
as Works Minister, his refusal to retire gracefully but continue to
reshape the party to fit his ambitions, is alienating MIC members, many
of whom have joined the Pakatan Rakyat.
The most recent is the defection of former vice-president Datuk S. S. Subramaniam who took scores of MIC members with him.
The battle for the three-vice president’s post is a eight cornered fight.
Among them are Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam,
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk S. K. Devamany
and Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk M. Saravanan for the
The three are supported by Samy Vellu.
The challengers are former Selangor youth chief P. Subramaniam,
Johor MIC treasurer Datuk S. Balakrishnan, former Federal Territory MIC
chief Datuk V.K.K. Teagarajan, Klang businessman K.P. Samy and Negri
Sembilan MIC leader P. Mariayee, the sole woman.
Nearly 65 people are contesting for the 23 posts in the party’s
Central Working Committee making it the most hotly fought contest ever.