This is the most shameful and humiliating episode in the history of
MIC, one of the oldest political parties in Malaysia, which was founded
as far back as August 1946.
In the 64-year history of MIC, was there a single time that the MIC
could not decide and determine who should be its parliamentary or state
assembly candidate – that its choice could be blocked and vetoed by
other political parties including UMNO.
If this had never happened before, why is it happening in the long
31-year reign of Samy Vellu as MIC President?
This is most ironic. The UMNO and BN leadership continue to the blind
and deaf to the message of the March 8 political tsunami of the 2008
general elections two years ago – which is a massive national vote
against Umno political hegemony both in Barisan Nasional and in
Ironically, the Palanivel-Kamalanathan candidature farce has seen
Umno’s hegemonic grip in Barisan Nasional reaching new dimensions, as
all the other Barisan Nasional component parties, whether MIC, MCA,
Gerakan or the Sabah and Sarawak component parties have never been so
weak and emasculated in their history as compared to Umno’s
over-reaching hegemony in the BN coalition.
Now, Umno is not only usurping the right of individual BN component
parties to determine who should be their candidates, but also taking
over their right to determine the leaderships in the other BN component
In eliminating Palanivel as a candidate in the Hulu Selangor
parliamentary by-election, the Umno leadership has virtually delivered a
death knell to the political future of Samy’s heir-designate in MIC.
No wonder Palanivel was not present at the Barisan Nasional function
in Ulu Selangor yesterday to announce the BN candidate.
No wonder Samy Vellu quickly announced that he would not seek
re-election when his term of office as MIC President ends in 2012, when
he had earlier promised to hand over the MIC Presidency to Palanivel
before the expiry of his term.
The writing on the wall is clear – Palanivel has been eliminated not
only as the BN candidate for Hulu Selangor, he has been eliminated as
the successor to Samy Vellu as MIC President.
Will Palanivel drown his sorrows and setbacks with the consolation of
a Senatorship with vague but clearly not-intended-to-be-fulfilled lure
of a deputy ministership in exchange for his exit from the political
UMNO Youth leader Khairy Jamaluddin told Sin Chew that the selection
of the Hulu Selangor by-election candidate must be decided collectively
by the Barisan Nasional and not alone by Umno or MIC.
Is Khairy joking or taking Malaysians for four-year-old children?
The Barisan Nasional is a coalition of 14 political parties. Is
Khairy seriously suggesting that apart from Umno objecting to
Palanivel’s candidature, there were other BN component parties who
objected? MCA? Gerakan? Can Khairy name them?
Can Khairy name a single instance since the formation of BN in 1973
that Umno had acted as such a “big bully” as to interfere in the
selection of candidature of a BN component party by arrogating to itself
the power of veto to the “one and only” candidate proposal of the BN
Would Khairy agree to submit the decision-making of candidature for
BN parliamentary or state assembly seats to majority decision of the
Barisan Nasional parties in the BN Supreme Council – to the extent that
the other BN component parties can decide by majority vote who should be
the Umno President, Deputy President and UMNO Youth leader?
Khairy is just adding salt into the wounds of the MIC leaders and
members, divisions and branches.
The lion of Sungai Siput
Even when a lion gets old, it is still
Could the "lion of Sungai Siput", Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, still
able to fight with UMNO today? I think everyone knows the answer.
MIC and UMNO were having different considerations over the candidate
selection for the Hulu Selangor by-election. UMNO considered the winning
chances while MIC believed that it was related to the party's dignity.
UMNO asked for a younger candidate with higher winning chances while
MIC insisted that UMNO should not interfere its party's internal
affairs. Moreover, party Deputy President Datuk G. Palanivel was the
successor of Samy Vellu. It would be an offence to MIC if Palanivel was
not selected as the BN's candidates for the Hulu Selangor by-election.
Therefore, the grassroots had urged BN to field Palanivel while the
Central Committee wanted investigation on Youth Deputy Chief V. Mugilan
for allegedly working against the interest of the party.
However, after experiencing the great defeat in the 8 March general
elections and when Indian voters no longer support MIC, MIC is basically
having no political chip to bargain with UMNO. Today's "lion of Sungai
Siput" can only sigh as eventually, its Information Chief P.
Kamalanathan, instead of Palanivel, was selected.
Even if MIC was able to successfully put pressure on BN, wouldn't it
worry about paying the price later?
Pakatan Rakyat (PR) was able to choose its candidate fast without any
controversy but BN were having such a fierce dispute. It reflected that
BN's mechanism could no longer move with time and it required a reform.
The three component parties of PR are holding about the same amounts
of seats and therefore, they are equal in terms of status in the
coalition. After a decision is made by leaders of the three parties,
they can implement it immediately. As for BN, which has been ruling the
country for more than half a century, UMNO is the dominator among the 13
component parties because the coalition is lack of an effective
communication channel, as well as a resolution mechanism.
The great power of UMNO has turned it into a dominator. When the
component parties lose their equal status, they will be unable to check
When UMNO is over racism, other component parties can only criticise
outside the party, instead of playing their role of checks and balances
and correct it through the internal structure.
In addition, MIC is adopting the "individual responsibility" system
in which UMNO is responsible to fight for Malay votes, while MCA and MIC
are responsible to fight for Chinese and Indian votes respectively. If
MCA and MIC fail the tasks, they will be blamed. As for PR, it is
multi-racial-based and therefore, no one will be the "scapegoat" for any
election defeat. Instead, it is a collective responsibility.
In terms of the candidate selection for the Hulu Selangor
by-election, similar to the Bagan Pinang by-election in Negeri Sembilan,
UMNO took more consideration on its grassroots leaders' views and
feelings. Of course, it upset other component parties.
BN has been applying such an unreasonable mode of operation since
long ago. Therefore, they must find out a more flexible and timely
resolution mechanism to rectify the weakness of one-party dominance.
It is not enough for BN to give recognitions to its "associate
members". Instead, it should reform its politics, update its structure
and organisation to make it more democratic, fair and transparent. It
can make it less racism and move towards a multi-racial-based coalition.
No one actually believed it when they heard rumours saying that "MIC
is quitting BN", as lions will be eventually tamed someday. (By LIM
SUE GOAN/Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE/Sin Chew Daily)