Friday, June 6, 2014

What else does Samy Vellu want?

samy vellu
By Azman Ujang

KUALA LUMPUR: It was vintage Samy Vellu. Except this time around, he was not condemning and fighting leaders he deems as his political “enemies” within the MIC but his own anointed successor as the party’s president.
Supporters of G Palanivel are up in arms over an interview he gave to Sunday Star which they say is a scathing attack on Palanivel whom Samy Vellu personally groomed for over 20 years until he took over the party’s helm in 2010 when the veteran politician finally quit after 30 years as president.

It was Samy Vellu’s no-holds-barred remarks that riled up Palanivel’s supporters with some asking:” After riding rough shot over the party with an iron-fist for three decades, he should now play the role of an elder statesman”.
Among other things in the interview, he lambasted Palanivel as well as regretted fighting his former deputy S. Subramaniam.
“I brought a man from nowhere. I built him; I gave him courage, I made him a deputy because at that time we were fighting with Subramaniam.
“Now I realise there was no reason for the fight (with Subramaniam)… I presented him (Palanivel) to the whole country wherever I went. I did all the work and promoted him. He became president. From the day he took over as president, I have nothing to do with MIC. He doesn’t talk to me much or call me”.
And answering a question, Samy Vellu said he does not call Palanivel because he now is an ordinary man. He rubbed in further by saying: “How can I call such a big man?”.
Palanivel, who was this writer’s colleague for over 10 years as a fellow editor in Bernama until he became Samy Vellu’s press secretary in 1987, declined to comment.
But party insiders told Bernama he was very upset over this “most unkind cut” from his former boss coming as it did when since taking over, he has been a “low-profile operator but powerful in moving the ground” to regain support for the party among the grassroots.
They cited as an example last week’s by-election in Teluk Intan where Palanivel went to the ground for 13 days mobilising the Indian votes which resulted in the Barisan Nasional wresting the Parliamentary seat from the DAP.
“He should not be condemning a party president,” said a senior MIC official.
Palanivel’s style of leadership is in sharp contrast to the confrontational and dictatorial style that had been Samy Vellu’s trademark and which culminated in the party’s crushing defeat in the 2008 general election when both Samy Vellu and Palanivel lost their Parliamentary seats.
Party insiders also said Samy Vellu should also own up to the fact that the present leadership had much work to do to repair the damage done during his tenure.
“By right, he should have given his open support to Palanivel and accepted the fact MIC cannot continue to operate the way he ran the party before. The political landscape has changed tremendously compared to during his time,” said the senior official.
He denied insinuations by Samy Vellu in the interview that the party had ignored him.
“At MIC functions, even those attended by the prime minister, Palanivel would ensure that Samy Vellu be seated next to the PM,” said the official.
Since Palanivel took over, many members and leaders who left MIC out of protest against Samy Vellu’s leadership had rejoined the party, he said.