Saturday, October 11, 2008

Samy Vellu: ‘Why is this idiot doing all this?’

I told you, didn’t I? I told you as much that Samy Vellu’s supposed attempts to ‘rebrand’ and rejuvenate the MIC was merely window dressing; actually, I said it was more like putting lipstick on a pig.

So it’s been three months now since Samy launched his infamous drive to rebrand his MIC. Well, during this time, we’ve seen the departure of some relatively high profile figures from MIC. To be more precise, we’ve seen various individuals ‘shown the exit door,’ so to speak, and one has to wonder at the amazing ‘reform’ and ‘rebranding’ underway in the MIC. As you might imagine, I bring this up only to further put in perspective the recent report that 5000 MIC members appear set to join Parti Keadilan Rakyat. Apparently, ‘Former Bayan Baru MIC division chairperson M Nganasegaran, who was sacked from the party yesterday, is expected to lead the exodus and officially handover their membership forms to PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim at the Bayan Baru PKR service centre.’ This report further notes that: ‘Besides MIC Bayan Baru, members from the nearby Bukit Bendera, Jelutong, Bukit Gelugor and Balik Pulau divisions are also expected to close down their branches and join forces with Nganasegaran.

And what was the apparent cause for the sacking of Nganasegaran? It seems Samy had ‘taken offense’ that the Bayan Baru MIC division had endorsed the Pakatan Rakyat’s joint anti-Internal Security Act conference on September 14 in Penang. I guess this is Samy’s way of showing how much regard he has for respecting the range and diversity of views within MIC.

You might recall that shortly after the drubbing that MIC took during the March 8 general elections, Samy remained adamant that he was best suited for rebuilding the party. Some of us (yours truly included) not only had our doubts, but it was also obvious how utterly self-serving, predictable, and bizarre it was – to say the least - that Samy refused and was unwilling to lick his wounds and move on by passing on the party leadership to others who may be more capable. Here was a man supposedly intent on ‘rebuilding’ the party.

If you paid any attention, you would’ve seem that the MIC was headed in one direction – and one direction only; and it was not hard to see as the evidence was all over. We saw how the launch of Samy’s ‘rebranding’ initiative turned out. In case you missed that bit of news, Samy had to literally canvas the hallways of the Dewan Tun Razak Hall at the Putra World Trade Centre in order to prevent guests at his MIC gathering from leaving. 

And we especially saw how his self-proclaimed successful Permatang Pauh campaign to win back Indian voters also unfolded. Mind you, it was his Barisan Nasional coalition (through Najib) that proposed scrap metal collectors licenses for Indians if they helped BN win in Permatang Pauh.

Perhaps this is a sign. Might we be so fortunate that Samy continues to stay on this path and we continue to see more defections from the MIC? This recent news represents a ‘high profile’ incident and so it has received some attention in the media. While many of us continue to celebrate every time there is news of such defections, surely Samy and his cabal must know that there have been thousands of voters who have silently ‘crossed over’ from the MIC and, for all practical purposes, severed their support for the MIC. If this trend holds in Penang, then we can safely assume that not only the MIC but surely Barisan Nasional can expect to remain an opposition coalition in Penang for quite some time. There is also strong indication that Indians – both professionals and otherwise – especially in urban areas have become extremely disillusioned with Samy’s MIC. This, by implication, means Indian support for MIC in Selangor and Wilayah Persekutuan in recent months (not unlike the trend in Penang) has been severely undermined. However, I’ll save my thoughts about the impact of this trend for Barisan’s future for another time. But I think you get my drift.   

Suffice it to note that at this rate, Samy will end up doing us all a huge favour by not just making the MIC irrelevant, he might even do enough that the preponderant of Malaysian Indians never again put their faith in the MIC. To quote Samy himself [from the MIC rebranding festivities at Putra World Trade Centre referred to above when – speaking about himself – he openly asked MIC members]: ‘You must be wondering why is this idiot doing all this?’ 

To that question, I say: Samy, I’m not wondering… I’m just delighted you are!

G. Krishnan