Saturday, June 24, 2006

MIC Election - More of Same Fare for Indians?

Today is the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) party general election. Humpty Dumpty has already won a new term as the president. No one dared to challenge him, though a bloke, who only after falling out of favour with Humpty because of his support for Subramaniam, did a bit of grandstanding by wanting to challenge Humpty after nominations had long been closed.

The main battleground would see the tussle for the deputy president post between incumbent Subra, whom Humpty wants out, and Palanivel, the president anointed successor.

Some political observers say Subra is as good as finished, but Malaysiakini journalist Baradan Kuppusamy believed it's not that easy to get rid of the current deputy president. He warned that even if Subra loses this round, which he probably will because of the president’s campaign against him, Subra will indulge in his favourite tactic, that of waiting waiting waiting to catch the (elusive) monkey. Poor Subra has been doing that for almost 20 years, like forever, so I suppose we can call him Mr Waiting Forever.

Baradan wrote that challenger Palanivel has been campaigning on the line that his elevation to deputy president would ensure for the party a smooth leadership transition from Humpty to him. Palanivel naturally claimed he’s a hard worker and has done much compared to Subra, who naturally refuted the claim.

As another MIC observer, Dr P Ramasamy had said in Malaysiakini, the MIC party election is one without a development agenda. It’s about their choice between retaining an old horse and bringing in a new one.

I think Dr Ramasamy has been too kind by describing Subra and Palanivel as steeds, when MIC leaders in the way they had and are likely to serve their constituency as component members of the ruling Barisan Nasional, are more akin to cattle or sheep. But he is right in that the MIC party election carries no development agenda, but then it’s the MIC.

Baradan warned that a victorious Palanivel may not have the guaranteed position as Humpty’s anointed heir. The danger for him lies in the vice-presidential contest, in the person of S Sothinathan.

Sothinathan is currently the front runner for one of the 3 VP's positions. But he is viewed as Palanivel future rival and thus greatest threat, so there is already a covert campaign against him, to reduce the likely votes he would get so he won't emerged as the VP with the most votes.

The VP contest is riddled with back biting and probably back stabbing as well. The aim seems to be to ensure Sothinathan doesn't become too prominent to pose a future dangerous challenge to Palanivel. Now, who says the MIC doesn’t have strategic planning? Maybe Subra ought to consider linking up with Sothinathan, if he hasn't yet?

I wonder whether there will be any throwing of chairs today, which was a predominant activity in earlier years. The MCA members have since inherited that popular intra-party expression of overt support for their candidates.

But whatever the outcome of the MIC elections, I reckon it'll be more of the same for the long suffering Indian constituency.

Once upon a time the Chinese community enjoyed the benevolence of wealthy Chinese philanthropists. I am not sure what the situation for them in this respect is today, but what Indian Malaysians need are not politicians. What they need instead is a group of wealthy Indian philanthropists. Afterall, the richest Malaysian is an Indian.

The Indian community could do with these non-politicians who would take up the leadership for their community's welfare and contribute both time and money to ameliorate the Indian Malaysians' social and economic woes.

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