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MIC Elections 2009: Palanivel, Subra Confident Of Victory

Contributed by Anonymous on Saturday, August 22 @ 10:04:06 CDT

MICKUALA LUMPUR, Aug 22 (Bernama) -- MIC deputy president Datuk G. Palanivel and former deputy president Datuk S. Subramaniam are both confident of emerging victorious in the hotly-contested battle for the number two post in the party elections next month.

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 Saturday.

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 in*****bent vice-president.

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 party secretary-general.

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 said.

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.
Datuk 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 to woo. 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 is blowing.” 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 him. “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 party needs. “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 posts.” 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 vice-presidencies. 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.



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