KUALA LUMPUR, 20 Jan 2009: Describing the MIC disciplinary committee hearing against him as “hogwash”, Datuk M Muthupalaniappan has chastised party leaders for using the hearing to bar him from contesting the president’s post.
He is the sole presidential aspirant at the MIC presidential election in April or May.
“It is definitely hogwash. They (the party disciplinary committee) are in a hurry to hear my case, with a view to disqualifying me from contesting the president’s post.
“The party has fixed 7 Feb as nomination at branch level and if I am sacked before that date, then I would not be able to contest the president’s post,” he told reporters following a 45-minute MIC disciplinary committee hearing at the party headquarters here today.
On 23 Dec, last year, the MIC disciplinary committee had issued a show-cause notice to Muthupalaniappan, 68, a former MIC vice-president, for allegedly acting against the party’s interests by issuing press statements.
The presidential aspirant had replied to the notice, objecting to committee chief Tan Sri G Vadiveloo’s presence at the hearing as the latter was a witness to the charge.
At the onset of the hearing today, Muthupalaniappan, who hails from Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, said Vadiveloo had objected to the two lawyers whom he had brought, adding that subsequently, they were asked to leave the room where the hearing was held.
“He then proceeded to read the charge as per the show-cause notice. Then, I raised my preliminary objections. I told them I needed time to bring my 15 witnesses and that three dates be set aside for the hearing.
“I also wanted the disciplinary committee to furnish me proof of what I was reported to have said in the media. To this, Vadiveloo said that I should source it on my own.
“Since the allegation is made against me, it is only right that they furnish me details of my so-called wrong-doing,” he said.
The senior politician said after he raised the preliminary objections, Vadiveloo refused to deliberate on the objections and said that he wanted to “close the matter by today”.
“He ruled that he was not entertaining the objections. I just want a complete enquiry. This is not a kangaroo court. It must be done, in accordance to the party’s regulations and by-laws.
“Since he did not want to entertain my objections, then I had no choice but to leave the enquiry. Vadiveloo also said the committee would forward its findings based on my 45 minutes with them, to the party’s central working committee (CWC).
“They also said that they would not call any more witnesses,” he said. The MIC CWC is the party’s highest decision-making body.
Asked on the next course of action, he said he would allow his lawyers to “explore avenues” available to him.
He also said if the party decided to expel him, he would take the matter up with the Barisan Nasional (BN) supreme council as the Societies Act did not allow party matters to be brought to court.
Late last year, Muthupalaniappan declared his intention to contest the MIC top post, taking on incumbent president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu who has helmed the party since 1979.
Meanwhile, Vadiveloo, when met by reporters at the MIC headquarters, said he had rejected all preliminary objections made by Muthupalaniappan, by virtue of being the disciplinary committee chair.
“The enquiry is done and over. We will deliberate on the matter and make our decision in the next few days. The decision would then be conveyed to Muthupalaniappan. If he wants to appeal against our decision, he can do so to the CWC,” he added.
Apart from Vadiveloo, others members of the committee are Negeri Sembilan MIC chief Datuk T Rajagopalu and former Sungkai state assemblyperson Datuk R Ganeson. — Bernama