AFTER months of indecisiveness, MIC president Datuk G. Palanivel returned from a pilgrimage in India to remove his gloves and blast his deputy Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam as a rumour monger and the man behind all the current problems in the party.
It signals that an all-out war has started between the two men and the vernacular papers are full of it.
It is very uncharacteristic of Palanivel to attack anyone but in a statement on Friday, he pointed fingers squarely at Dr Subramaniam and another vice-president for all the troubles MIC is facing.
The vice-president was not named but it is believed to be Datuk S. Saravanan, who has been leading an anti-Palanivel faction from day one.
Specifically, Palanivel blamed them for “making allegations to the media on his inaction on the directive from the Registrar of Societies (RoS)” to hold a fresh election for three vice-president posts and 23 central working committee posts.
Palanivel’s attacks on Dr Subramaniam have widened the rift in MIC, making it difficult for any reconciliation between the two warring faction leaders and their supporters.
“Office-bearers of MIC, including the deputy president, one of the vice-presidents and others, are spreading allegations and misinformation to the media about issues on the elections raised by RoS.
“The only thing that I have not done is discuss the party’s internal matters in the media as is being done by the others, including the deputy president and one of the vice-presidents,” Palanivel said in the statement.
He also made it clear that meetings held between the rebels and party members over the RoS issue were not sanctioned by him.
He rejected criticism that he was keeping silent over the issue and addressed the RoS issue for the first time, explaining what he had done and why.
“I am doing what is required of me as president of the MIC to keep the party afloat.
“I took immediate steps to protect the interests and rights of MIC, contrary to allegations levelled against me that I have done nothing.
“I would like to make it clear that there are certain procedures and channels provided under the Societies Act in dealing with complaints and decisions made by RoS.
“We, together with the lawyers, are following proper procedures and have taken all measures necessary to protect the interests of MIC in this matter,” Palanivel said.
He also said the party had lodged an appeal with the Home Ministry, as the letters sent to MIC by RoS were defective and incorrect.
“Our lawyers have perused the letter dated Dec 31, 2014, in detail, including all the matters raised by RoS, and they have advised me that the purported notice issued by RoS is flawed and wrong in law,” he said, adding that the party’s next course of action depends on the reply from the Home Ministry.
“My intention is to protect the interests and rights of MIC, contrary to the allegations levelled against me,” he said, dismissing any notion that he had done nothing.
Dr Subramaniam had flayed Palanivel last Monday for not responding to his requests to meet up on numerous occasions to discuss the RoS directive.
He also said the window had “closed” for discussions between him and Palanivel.
Former president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu had handpicked Palanivel as his successor but later lambasted him as unsuitable.
He is now said to be favouring Dr Subramaniam, his clansman, but Palanivel has also gone back on a promise to vacate the presidency in favour of Dr Subramaniam in 2016.
It is said that the truce between them was brokered in the presence of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
This is the crux of the dispute – Dr Subramaniam is now convinced that Palanivel is going back on his promise.
It has become complicated by RoS’ decision to have fresh election after losers in the 2013 party polls complained to it of irregularities.
RoS had also rejected as invalid Palanivel’s recent dismissal of four CWC members and the appointment of new office bearers, including that of new “secretary-general” Datuk G. Kumaar Aamaan, who staged a “hunger strike” in protest outside the RoS office but abandoned it within 24 hours.
He and his supporters at the hunger strike were lambasting Samy Vellu, making allegations about cash and properties belonging to MIC during his time as president.
“They are hoping to rally the MIC grassroots behind Palanivel by blaming Samy Vellu for shortcomings, but have failed to realise that Palanivel has been in charge of MIC since 2012,” said a former state chairman.
“It is easy to blame Samy Vellu, but what have you been doing in the last three years?” he asked.
The fight has escalated dramatically between the two leaders – Palanivel and Dr Subramaniam – for control of MIC.
It is reminiscent of an earlier fight between Samy Vellu and Datuk S. Subramaniam, two leaders of yesteryear who fought for control of MIC, with Samy Vellu prevailing in the end.
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