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MIC headed for showdown

Contributed by Anonymous on Saturday, September 10 @ 10:32:02 CDT

MICNew Straits Times 09/09/05

M.K. Megan and Minderjeet Kaur PUCHONG, SELANGOR

The shadow play is over. MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu today launched a public attack against his deputy, Datuk S. Subramaniam ó a tirade which signals the start of a long season of acrimony and bile in the run-up to party elections next year.
He accused his number two of staging a "proxy war" to take over the party leadership from him.

Samy Vellu said that Subramaniam had been doing this since he lost the contest for the presidentís post in 1989.

"Since then, I always kowtow (defer to) and respect him but he does not respect me... He is responsible for the rift, not me... He has been waging this silent campaign all this while through the Malaysia Nanban newspaper which was owned by his close friend," Samy Vellu said.

He accused the newspaper of creating "confusion and problems" within the MIC and Indian politics.

Samy Vellu was speaking to reporters after the ground-breaking ceremony for the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Puchong near here.

It is an open secret that the top two leaders in the MIC have been at loggerheads for years, with Samy Vellu openly questioning the loyalty of his deputy.

In 2003, the relationship took a turn for the worse when Indian Progressive Front president Datuk M.G. Pandithan urged Samy Vellu to step down as party president. Samy Vellu was upset that Subramaniam did not come to his defence. It is clear that episode still grates with him.

He said today: "An outsider was attacking me but he kept quiet.

"I asked him why he was keeping quiet? He said it was his mistake."

The falling-out between the two culminated last year when Subramaniam was dropped as candidate for the general election. Subramaniam has said that he will defend his deputy presidentís position next year and he is likely to be challenged by Datuk G. Palanivel, whom party officials say is Samy Velluís preferred choice.

Samy Vellu also said that there was an underground campaign with some quarters sending short messaging service (SMS) to Subramaniamís supporters.

"They are hoping that the SMS would be passed on to others and would help gain as much sympathy as possible," he said.

As the party president, he said, he had the right to choose his running mate.

"It is the democratic right of the president and it is the delegates who have the final say on whether to vote for the presidentís team or not," he said, adding that he had "almost decided" who his running mate would be.

He ended the Press conference with an abrupt: "Oklah, I have to go. You have spoilt my mood. I had a very good morning today.íí

Subramaniam today said he would comment on Samy Velluís statement tomorrow.

"Sometimes, as an afterthought, Samy Vellu would retract some of the things he has said. This had happened several times in the Tamil newspapers.

"I will prepare a reply once I have seen his comments in black and white."

Expect more fireworks.



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