KUALA LUMPUR, 11 March 2009: MIC presidential aspirant Datuk M Muthupalaniappan has charged that several MIC leaders are using underhanded tactics to interfere with his bid for the party’s top post.
Such below-the-belt tactics, he said, were deployed to ensure incumbent MIC president Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu won the post uncontested.
The 66-year-old leader from Seremban also claimed that MIC branch chairpersons were subjected to threats to ensure he did not meet the 50 nominations required to enable him to contest the top post.
“There are people going around asking branch chair[persons] to sign nomination forms for Samy Vellu, when they had already nominated me.
“Some leaders think that if they force branch chair[persons] to sign both nomination forms, one for me and one for the incumbent, automatically the nomination would be null and void.
“Branch chair[persons] are only allowed to nominate one person. Some leaders are saying it is all right to sign twice. This is wrong and misleading. All they want is to declare my nomination null and void, but I have my defence mechanism which I will reveal at the right time,” he said today.
Late last year, Muthupalaniappan announced his intention to contest the party’s top post. He will face Samy Vellu, who has declared that he would defend the post, having been at the helm of the largest Indian Malaysian-based political party since 1979, when he became acting president.
Under the party constitution, a presidential aspirant needs to obtain 50 nominations, with each nomination needing one proposer and five seconders, to be eligible to contest. All proposers and seconders must be branch chairpersons.
The MIC president will be picked by some 3,700 branch chairpersons nationwide. The party has fixed 22 March for the presidential nomination, while polling is slated for 12 April.
Nomination form frustration
Muthupalaniappan also claimed that the party headquarters was issuing two sets of nomination forms to branch chairpersons.
“One nomination form has Samy Vellu’s name printed on it, while the other is empty. The nomination form which has his name is given out freely to branch chair[persons], while the empty form is only given out after some pestering and coaxing.
“If they give out empty forms, then they are scared that the branch chair[persons] would nominate me and allow me to contest,” he alleged.
He further charged that the nomination forms, which are supposed to be distributed at all state MIC offices, could only be obtained from the headquarters. “So, if someone from Kedah wants to nominate me, then the person has to come down to Kuala Lumpur to collect it. This is not feasible,” he said.
Asked on his chances of obtaining the nominations and contesting the MIC top post, Muthupalaniappan said at present, the concerted effort put in by some party leaders to ensure that he did not contest seemed to bear fruit.
“I would say that I am facing an uphill task. Even obtaining nomination forms is a huge task, what more asking branch leaders to sign it. The branch chair[persons] are scared.
“Even in the event of a contest, I am sure there are more tricks up the sleeves of some leaders to ensure Samy Vellu wins comfortably,” Muthupalaniappan claimed. — Bernama