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MIC Elections 2009: Bala abhors caste politics in MIC contest

Contributed by Anonymous on Wednesday, August 26 @ 22:35:51 CDT

2009/08/27, NST
By Suganthi Suparmaniam KUALA LUMPUR: He may be known as the "RM2 million man", "road king" or "contractor Bala", but Datuk S. Balakrishnan does not want to be known as the man who brought caste politics into the MIC. The Johor MIC treasurer, who is going for one of the three vice-presidential slots, said he had never advocated divisions among members along social, economic or caste lines.

He said he had not initiated the "Nammavar" slogan for the Sept 12 party polls where members of certain castes were pulling together to win positions in the party.

"There are many friends and supporters whom I had helped before who are behind me now. I have helped and supported many people in my life and they are supporting me now. Datuk S. Balakrishnan says the people need leaders who can contribute and work.
"I cannot say no when they come and say that they are supporting me. These are friends," he said when commenting on allegations that he was involved in caste politics.

He also denied that his support base was solely due to his financial strength.

Balakrishnan said people liked him because of what he had done for them and "not about money".

"I don't know from where the RM2 million dollar tag for me came (coined to allege that he used money to get things done in the party)."

He said it could have come from talk that three millionaires would be contesting in the vice-presidential race.

"I am not buying votes and never have. I have always only used my money to build temples and schools."

Balakrishnan is being pitted against three "official" candidates and three "outsiders".

The official candidates are Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam, who is party secretary-general and Human Resources Minister, Deputy Federal Territories Minister and party information chief Datuk M. Saravanan and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department and Cameron Highlands member of parliament Datuk S.K Devamany.

The outsiders are former Selangor MIC youth chief P. Subramaniam, Federal Territory MIC strongman Datuk V.K.K. Teagarajan and Negri Sembilan leader, P. Mariayee.
Balakrishnan is confident of winning and not worried about going up against a minister and two deputy ministers.
"I don't see them as threats. I'm just concentrating on my strength, my sakti (power). I will also not talk anything bad about the other contestants, I don't know their style. But, I've worked hard all my life and I am in the people's heart."

He said delegates were looking for a kind, compassionate and approachable leader "and I believe I have these traits".

"We need leaders who can contribute and work.

"I may not have the paper qualifications but I have experiences in life that will help. I have about 500 people working for me on a monthly payroll of more than RM1 million."

On the AIMST University road contract awarded to him, Balakrishnan clarified that it was not for RM90 million but RM27 million.

"I got it after going through the proper channels where I had to make a bid. It was given to me based on my track record and experience."



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