KUALA LUMPUR: MIC vice-president Datuk G. Palanivel has finally confirmed that he would take on incumbent Datuk S. Subramaniam for the deputy president's post in the June 24 party elections.
“I wish to officially announce my candidacy for the deputy president's post although the president, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, had endorsed me nine months ago,” he told a packed news conference at MIC headquarters here yesterday.
Palanivel said it has become imperative for a contest to be held for the deputy president's post, which has been returned unopposed for so many years.
“This is the first time the post will be opposed. I think the party is mature enough to accept a clean contest. Without a contest, the candidates would not have to account for their performance or meet the delegates,” he said.
The 57-year-old Palanivel hoped the contest would progress smoothly and would leave it to the delegates to decide whom they want as the deputy president.
“Generally there is widespread support for Datuk Seri Samy Vellu's leadership because his is a collective leadership. He consults the vice-presidents, central working committee leaders and others before making a decision,” he said.
Meanwhile, Subramaniam concurred that the party president had called him to tell him that he was being nominated for a deputy minister's post after discussing the matter with then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He said at no time had he said that he was given the opportunity through the intervention of his wife.
“I am very grateful to him for that. I have always respected wives of leaders and it is best to leave them out of politics,” he said when asked to comment on a report in The Star quoting Samy Vellu as having said he had given the “kiss of life” to Subramaniam's political career 17 years ago.
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