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MIC Elections 2009: Palanivel Throws Succession Ball Back To Samy

Contributed by Anonymous on Wednesday, September 23 @ 07:27:27 CDT

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 23 (Bernama) -- MIC deputy president Datuk G. Palanivel has thrown the ball back to party chief Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu on when the long-serving MIC president will vacate the post.

"Many questions and pressures have been exerted on the transition of power in MIC. I have been working closely together with Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu for many years now," he wrote on his blog on Wednesday.

"He has been preparing me for the top post for many years. In fact, during several campaign meetings he declared that I have experience, maturity and the capability to take over from him and lead the party," said Palanivel who retained his post at the recent MIC elections.

Since the polls, there has been no let up over how long Samy Vellu intends to stay after being returned unopposed for an 11th term.

It heightened further over the weekend with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak saying that he would discuss a successsion plan with Samy Vellu.

The outspoken MIC leader, who has been at the helm of MIC since 1981, said he was prepared to hand over the leadership of the party if Palanivel was ready.

"I'm certain he must have a good plan in his mind, especially after having supported me as the deputy presidential candidate for the second time in the Sept 12 elections. He will know when will be the best moment to hand over the reins," Palanivel said.

A former journalist who became Samy Vellu's press secretary before entering politics, Palanivel praised the MIC leader as "an iconic leader in Malaysian history" who had led the Indian community through some trying times.

"A lesser man would have perished long ago," he said.

Palanivel was confident that members would continue to support him after the crucial party elections in which an overwhelming majority of candidates backed by Samy Vellu won.

"The new leadership is made up of many new faces and the delegates have voted smartly by bringing in change where they saw fit. It is a good mix of experience and young blood," he added.

Is Palanivel ready to lead MIC? By Baradan Kuppusamy
Samy Vellu (left) has laid the gauntlet on the ground. Can and will Palanivel (right) pick it up? — file pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 22 – As usual, there is a “but” and a big one at that in MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu’s offer to quit in favour of his newly elected deputy Datuk G. Palanivel. Samy Vellu says he is prepared to quit “even today or tomorrow” if Palanivel feels that he is ready to take over the party leadership. “I am ready to pass the baton to him… but he must be ready,” Samy Vellu said yesterday, indirectly piling pressure on Palanivel to declare whether he is ready or, as the president hopes, announces instead that he needs Samy Vellu to remain. Palanivel is in India for prayers. Is Palanivel ready to lead a fractious MIC that has long been dominated by strong willed personalities? It is a question on the minds of MIC members and Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders for some time now as the MIC, after suffering massive losses in Election 2008, is trying to find its feet hopefully under a new leader before the next general election is due in 2013. In 2006, helped by Samy Vellu, Palanivel won the party No 2 post handsomely by defeating Datuk S. Subramaniam with a 483 vote majority. Three years later on Sept 12 his majority fell to just 82 votes, showing the erosion of his standing in the party despite strong support from Samy Vellu. His rival, Subramaniam, polled 546 votes, more than the 495 he got in 2006 but significantly a third contender Datuk S. Sothinathan garnered 280 votes, indicating the majority of the votes had gone against Samy Vellu and his choice, Palanivel. The results show both Samy Vellu, and in particular Palanivel, are now in the minority in the MIC. Although he won the deputy president’s contest, he is the weakest among the three in terms of the support he personally receives in the party. Palanivel got about 43 per cent of the 1,450 votes while Subramaniam received about 37 per cent and Sothinathan about per cent indicating the battle is far from settled among the three. Of the 43 per cent of votes, a good number were strong supporters of Samy Vellu who were duty-bound to support Palanivel because “their president” had asked them to do so. On winning, the first thing Palanivel did was to thank Samy Vellu and declare he would not have won without the president’s backing, which simply means Palanivel will need Samy Vellu to stay on as president for some time. “He is in no position to let Samy Vellu go or ask him to quit,” said an MIC insider. “He is too weak to hold the party together without the strong backing of Samy Vellu.” “This is exactly the situation Samy Vellu wants… a weak deputy president dependent on him to keep the wolves at bay,” the MIC insider, a former vice-president, said while adding that such a situation was engineered by Samy Vellu. “He could have backed Subramaniam or Datuk Dr Subramaniam (newly elected vice-president and Human Resources minister) but these two would be pushing him to retire,” the former vice-president said. “Palanivel, however, is unlikely to pressure Samy Vellu to quit… he needs him,” he said. “Samy Vellu is in no hurry to retire.” Nevertheless Samy Vellu is unlikely to stay until 2012, when his 11th term as president expires. This gives the MIC leadership about two years to reinvent themselves in time for the next general election. Palanivel is expected to bide his time and play along, allowing Samy Vellu unhindered space to run the MIC in his usual haughty manner just as Subramaniam had for many years, excelling in the art “sitting pretty and doing nothing.” If he does take over, Palanivel’s leadership would be a sharp contrast to the puffed-up, boisterous and fun-loving Samy Vellu. Except for the early years after its founding in 1946, the MIC has been dominated by two men — Tun VT Sambanthan for 18 years until 1973 and Samy Vellu from 1979. The original MIC was a mixture of pro-Asian nationalism with mild socialist leanings but all that changed after Sambanthan took over on a wave of Tamil chauvinism. His successor Tan Sri V. Manicavasagam held the post for only six years but left a deep imprint by bringing Western-educated intellectuals into the party, setting up the Nesa Co-operative and building the current MIC headquarters. Fortunately, or unfortunately, Palanivel does not have the “big man” personality, boldness or charisma of either Sambanthan or Samy Vellu. He does not wax eloquent in Tamil, nor does he narrate stories of past Tamil glories or sing songs like Samy Vellu does to captivate the hearts and minds of the party rank and file. He does not have a presence nor can he walk into a room and fill the space to overflowing but he once said he had ideas. “I know what to do for the Indian community,” he told this writer. “The era of the giants dominating the political stage is over… the era of Nehru, Marcos, Mao, Sukarno is over,” he said. “We are in the era of functionaries, leaders who know what to do, do it and move on.”******The StarWednesday September 23, 2009 Sothi: I didn’t contest post to split votes
PETALING JAYA: Datuk S. Sothinathan has refuted claims that he contested for the MIC deputy president’s post to split the votes between Datuk G. Palanivel and Datuk S. Subramaniam. Sothinathan, who lost in his bid, expressed his disappointment over the allegations, saying he had contested to bring changes to the party. In*****bent Palanivel retained his seat with 629 votes, defeating Subramaniam and Sothinathan who garnered 547 and 280 votes, respectively. There were four spoilt votes. Subramaniam, rival of MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, was attempting to make a comeback to the party. “My intention was noble. I contested because it was time to vote for change. “Change is the only way to move forward and remain relevant to the community. We have to do this before it is too late,” Sothinathan said. He said he would remain committed to serving the community despite his loss and the campaign against him. “Some have cast doubt over my intentions. There were smear campaigns against me. “But I refused to be drawn into it. I wanted a clean campaign and did not allow my supporters to smear anyone. “In time, they will realise that my intentions were noble,” he said. Sothinathan said he had met delegates and asked them to make a decision based on the community’s expectations. “The mood for change was there initially. I respect the wishes of the delegates. I will continue to serve the community,” said the former vice-president.



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