Bickering in Malaysian Indian Congress draws mixed response

January 26th, 2009 - 3:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Jan 26 (IANS) The expulsion of a senior Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) leader last week has drawn mixed reactions from the party insiders, some of whom say it was “hasty and wrong”, a media report said.The other view justifying action against M. Muthu Palaniappan is that he could not have won against the long-time incumbent, S. Samy Vellu in an election for the post of party president.

Some have gone on record, but most people New Straits Times newspaper spoke to preferred anonymity when they said that anyone challenging Vellu stood the risk of being expelled on grounds of anti-party activity.

The newspaper noted that in less than a year, another party leader who declared his intention to contest against Vellu in party polls in March has been sacked.

A former vice-president, Palaniappan joins former Klang division chief Alex Thiagarajan “in being sent to the dog house for trying to undermine the veteran leader’s authority”.

Palaniappan is claiming that the charges against him were just an excuse to get rid of him so that Vellu could assume the top post unchallenged.

Within three months of stating his intention to contest against Vellu, Palaniappan was given a show-cause letter to explain his statements Nov 11 in “Makkal Osai” a Tamil language newspaper and in an interview with “Malaysiakini” last month.

Both statements were deemed detrimental to the party.

He was called for a hearing last Tuesday and expelled the next day.

While there is support for the move within the party, there are also pockets of resistance to what is being called “hasty and unnecessary action” against Palaniappan, the newspaper said.

MIC Youth chief T. Mohan said that action was taken against Muthu Palaniappan to send a signal to members that everyone was equal before the party.

“Vellu would have won anyway. It would not have been a tough fight at all for him as Palaniappan is not the right candidate to stand against him,” said Mohan.

He agreed that some might think Palaniappan was sacked because he had a fighting chance of winning the election, but added that discipline was more important to the party.

A senior party leader, who preferred to remain anonymous, dismissed speculation that Palaniappan might have been able to topple Samy Vellu if he had not been sacked.

“There can be change but it should be for the better. I don’t think Muthu Palaniappan would have even got the required nominations. Even if he did, he would not have won.”

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