Saturday, September 26, 2009

MIC: Leave with dignity, not in shame

M. Veera Pandiyan's column in The Star on Friday is a rare combination of candour and insight written at a personal level. It does tell us that times have changed that the piece could even be approved for publication. In another time and age, it may well be that a piece of this nature would have been blue-pencilled to nothingness. Then again, it may be that this piece was "approved" because the apex leadership of BN wants to see a major revamp of the MIC.

In any event, here we are. And, this part that I extracted is most rivetting. The column piece should be read in toto to do it justice for, as the columnist intoned at the end of the piece, I might be inviting a garland of slippers for this, but there is a danger of the MIC ending up as an abbreviation for Megalomaniac In Command if he chooses to stay on to the end of his 11th term. (emphasis mine)

“You have sold your community for a fistful of dollars!”

The thundering voice was that of Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, then, and still, president of the MIC, during a press conference in January 1983 to announce the launch of Maika Holdings.

The initial reaction of shock segued into amusement. In the mind, the image of the party leader who had just taken over the helm of the Indian component party of Barisan Nasional morphed into that of a cowboy – albeit more like Bud Spencer than Clint Eastwood in the old spaghetti Western movies.

The reason for Samy Vellu anger? I had asked a question that I felt was fair: How is Maika going to be any different from the party’s existing business entities like Koperasi Nesa and Koperasi Pekerja Jaya?

“You Indian reporters in The Star are always running down the MIC, you have all sold out your community for a company run by the MCA!” he said.

If I remember correctly, that was the end of the press conference.

As other bewildered reporters and I walked down the steps of the party headquarters, one of the president’s then economic advisers, who has since moved on to champion human rights and other currently politically correct causes, asked me: “Why do you all always belittle the MIC?”

But when asked to name the instances, the economist could not be specific. By then we had reached the end of the stairway and the still incensed party leader, who must have seen us arguing, came rushing forward with some of his aides.

Fortunately, the late Datuk K. Pathmanaban, then a deputy minister and party vice-president, pulled me away and cooled off the situation.

1 comment:

Patricia said...

CT, I read this when it was published. One of the few times I pick up the msm, and I strike gold :)

MIC has been the face of the Malaysian Indian for so long, that every time they screw up, I am filled with such shame, I don't know where to put my face.

Thank god for the alternative option I now have. When someone says, 'your MIC flers are misbehaving again', I'm quick to point out: I'm a PKR person, if you don't mind! Thank you very much!

Leave with dignity? I think the time is past for that save. It's now a could-have-been. Window of opportunity sudah closed now, lah.

p.s.

The word verification for this comment is 'chili'. Wah, very pedas lah your post!?!