KUALA LUMPUR, 26 Dec 2008: The removal of MIC veteran and senior leader Tan Sri M Mahalingam as party treasurer-general has sparked speculation in the party as to who would fill the post.
Among the names mentioned by party inner circles are MIC information chief Datuk M Saravanan, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk SK Devamany and former youth secretary S Murugesan.
Sources reveal that Saravanan could be the obvious candidate to be given the post based on recent events in the largest Indian political party in the country.
“Saravanan (the deputy federal territories minister) was appointed treasurer of Koperasi Didik (the cooperative arm of the MIC) earlier this month. He has also been asked to be a signatory of one or two other arms of the party.
“So, if he is appointed, there is nothing to be surprised about. Judging from these appointments by (party president Datuk Seri S) Samy Vellu, it could be Saravanan,” said an MIC insider who declined to be named. Koperasi Didik, with some 34,636 members, is the brainchild of Samy Vellu.
On 23 Dec, in an abrupt decision, Samy Vellu removed long-time ally Mahalingam, 73, from the treasurer-general’s post he has held since 2000, and said it was part of the party’s rebranding exercise and a “routine change” and that it was time he appointed a younger person.
Saravanan, when contacted by Bernama, declined comment, saying that the president would pick the right man for the job.
However, some observers feel that Saravanan could be appointed to stop the MIC rising star from contesting any “higher position” in the party elections slated for the second half of next year.
“If he is given a post now, then he could be asked to hold on to that post and not contest any other position in the MIC elections. This could be one way of stopping him from moving up the ladder for the time being,” said a senior leader who did not want to be named.
Devamany, the other possible candidate for the job, is the Cameron Highlands Member of Parliament and the only MP in the party who does not have any party post despite being a deputy minister.
Sources say this would be a way to push Devamany into MIC’s mainstream politics to prepare him for contested party positions.
The MIC will hold elections for its top office bearers, except for the post of president, after June next year. The election for the party’s top post will be held in March next year.
“Furthermore, Devamany is now the president’s favourite. But he has yet to be tested in a party position. Samy Vellu might use this opportunity to give the exposure to Devamany,” said a source.
Murugesan, a lawyer said to be in the party president’s good books too, is a proven youth leader who was asked to vacate the youth secretary’s post along with several other youth leaders earlier this year as they had passed the 40-year-old age limit.
He was the Barisan Nasional candidate for the Subang parliamentary seat in the general election last March. He lost in the contest for the seat.
Murugesan is said to be one of the few youth leaders who has Samy Vellu’s trust and has “the capacity to go far in the party”. — Bernama