KUALA LUMPUR: MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said he gave the “kiss of life” to his deputy’s political career after Datuk S. Subramaniam challenged him and lost in 1989.
He said former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had asked him to nominate the late Datuk K. Pathmanaban for a deputy minister’s post as he felt it was not proper to name someone who had gone against him (Samy Vellu).
The MIC president, who emerged victorious in the 1989 contest, said his reply to Dr Mahathir then was: “No sir, I want Subramaniam.”
Samy Vellu said that although Subramaniam had contested against him, he had given him another opportunity.
“But he (Subramaniam) said that it was his wife who gave him the opportunity. Who is his wife? Is she the prime minister of the country?
“It is the party leader who says ‘yes’, then only will the prime minister appoint. I said ‘yes’ but he (Subramaniam) has no gratitude,” the Works Minister told reporters after launching the Cyber Start programme at the KL Convention Centre here yesterday.
As regards his accusation that Subramaniam was behind reports in two Tamil dailies saying that Samy Vellu had criticised Dr Mahathir, he said: “I can give proof that he is actually the owner but has his shares in someone else’s name.”
Meanwhile, the fight for the MIC number two post has started.
Vice- president Datuk G. Palanivel will officially announce his candidacy today.
This would be the strongest challenge for Subramaniam, who last defeated former MIC vice-president Datuk S.S. Subramaniam to defend his post as deputy president in 1994.
Subramaniam, who was dropped as the candidate for the Segamat parliamentary seat last year, had announced his intention to defend his party post after the MIC general assembly in May last year.
He said he had documented his contributions to the community in a book, which would be used in his campaign. Copies would be distributed to delegates before nomination day on June 4.
“Sometimes people tend to forget or deny one’s contributions,” he told reporters before opening the 21st annual general meeting of Koperasi Nesa Pelbagai Bhd yesterday.
“For instance, Koperasi Nesa Pelbagai Bhd has carried out programmes to help the Indian community. However, many people may not know of Nesa’s contributions to the community. I think it is important to remind everybody about the co-operative and this will be reflected in the book.
“As someone who represents the community, I have been involved in various organisations to help uplift the community and ensure the success of Nesa's programmes,” added Subramaniam, who has been the co-operative’s president since 1980.
Asked whether he was referring to any particular individual who had not recognised his contributions, he said: “I’m not referring to anyone. It is just normal that people tend to forget.”
On the party elections, he said some delegates said they preferred a quiet campaign.
“I respect their feelings, as the best way is to reflect them at the ballot box.”
Palanivel said he had been campaigning for 16 years and was ready to get a mandate from the delegates to help the party president implement his vision for the community.
The 57-year-old former journalist who is the Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister, said he has received encouraging feedback from delegates.
Palanivel contested the Hulu Selangor parliamentary seat in 1990 and was appointed the National Unity and Social Development Ministry parliamentary secretary in 1995. He was promoted to Deputy Rural Development Minister in 1999.
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