Ex-MIC strongman says he 'cheated' in 1977 party polls
Monday, September 7th, 2009 The Malay Mail
FORMER MIC strongman Datuk V. Govindaraj has made public a dark secret that could have altered the presidency of the party.
Govindaraj has confessed that he pocketed 30 votes meant for Datuk
S. Subramaniam in the contest for the deputy president's post against
Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu 31 years ago.
Subramaniam ended up losing to Samy Vellu by a mere 26 votes and the
latter became president when then president Tan Sri V. Manickavasagam
died in 1979.
Govindaraj, 76, an elder statesman of the Indian community who broke
his silence to Malay Mail, said he acted “on the spur of the moment”
and was “not instigated by anyone”.
The former MIC vice-president said he was speaking up after all
these years because he wished to make peace with himself and let
everyone know what happened on that polling day in 1977.
“I am the one who stole 30 votes that delegates had cast for Subramaniam.
“I really did not plan it... it was on the spur of the moment when I
took a stack of three bundles of 10 votes each and put them in my
However, he said, he apologised to Subramaniam and the late Datuk K. Pathmanaban on the same day and both of them “forgave me”.
“Although he was magnanimous and forgave me I still want to go on
record and say ‘Subra, I am really sorry’ because he would have been
president after Tan Sri Manickavasagam’s death and not Samy Vellu.”
Govindaraj said he had also informed Samy Vellu, whom he backed for the deputy presidency, of the incident as well.
Samy Vellu could not be reached for confirmation.
When contacted, Subramaniam acknowledged that Govindaraj confessed
to him and Pathmanaban that he stole the votes to allow Samy Vellu to
”We are still friends. I forgave him a long time ago... I do not
think about it or wallow over the misfortune I suffered,” he said.
Subramaniam, then the secretary-general of MIC, was hand-picked by Manickavasagam to become deputy president and succeed him.
Relating the incident, Govindaraj said: “I was wearing a batik shirt
and was in front of the table with the bundle of votes of 10 each.
“When the scrutineers’ attention was focused on a commotion I took
three stacks of 10 votes each meant for Subra and put them in my
pocket. I knew those votes were for Subra.
“The history of MIC would have taken a different course if not for
my wrong-doing,” said Govindaraj, who was removed from the party
Central Working Committee in 2006.
Govindaraj also said he was making this dark secret public because
he hoped his confession would ensure that balloting in the Sept 12
polls would be fair and the counting above board.
He proposed an independent body be set up to ensure voting was fair and free from any pressure and interference.
A total of 73 candidates are contesting for the posts of deputy
president (three candidates), vice-presidents (seven going for three
spots) and Central Working Committee members (63 people vying for 23
Govindaraj, a former staunch supporter of Samy Vellu and the
person credited with introducing him to politics, said the autocratic
system of political administration under the current leadership is not
good for the country and the party.
Samy Vellu is the longest serving president of the MIC, having held
this post for 11 consecutive terms since 1979. He was also the
longest-serving Cabinet Minister until his defeat in the 12th general
election in March 2008.