The 13th general election is expected to provide unexpected results as no one is able to predict the number of seats to be won by Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat. Pakatan’s pithy slogans like ‘Ubah’ and ‘Ini kali lah’, has received tremendous attention from its supporters. BN is banking on its track record and is seeking a mandate for continuity with its own catchy slogans.
Anwar Ibrahim is become the crowd puller in the general election. His attendance in Seremban, Johor and some parts of Selangor has drawn mammoth crowds. He has been realistic in admitting that he is unsure if the huge crowds for Pakatan can be translated into votes.
Pakatan has successfully won a psychological war by pressing home the message that they will be forming the next government. Anwar went to say that it won’t be easy for him to bring down the prices of essential goods and he has to crack his head on how to bring down the price of petrol after the election as promised.
Najib has been advising people that when choosing a leader, they should pick someone based on merit, track record, vision and his road map for the future. He called on the people to reject Anwar who he said was only good at giving speeches and making empty promises.
MIC contested nine parliament seats in 2008 elections and won only three. Deputy MIC president Dr S Subramaniam won in Segamat, M Saravanan in Tapah and SK Devamany in Cameron Highlands. S Kamalanathan won in the Hulu Selangor byelection. This time around Najib has allocated the same number of parliamentary seats to MIC, under its new leader G Palanivel.
Palanivel is contesting in Cameron Highlands for the first time. He is involved in a five-way tussle with DAP’s M Manoharan the former Teluk Intan MP, two independents in Alagu Thangarajoo and Kisho Kumar Ketriveloo and Berjasa’s Mohd Shokri. Many feel Cameron Highlands is a safe seat for Palanivel. The fact is that there are no safe seats in the general election. Each and every candidate has to slog and sweat to win their seats in the respective constituency. Palanivel and his team have been working closely with the component parties of BN, NGOs, and the people of Cameron Highlands for the past one year to take care of the needs of the people here.
He initiated several projects even before the elections. People in Cameron Highlands can expect a facelift with better infrastructure and facilities as Palanivel is a Cabinet Minister. Manoharan is a well-mannered politician and would have won hands down if he was given back the Teluk Intan seat. Manoharan has conceded he will be facing an uphill task in Cameron Highlands. Palanivel is expected to win the seat with a big majority.
Saravanan is facing Pakatan’s K Vasanthakumar, a former ISA detainee and a Hindraf strongman. Saravanan has been servicing the constituency well and he has good PR and enjoys the support of all races. He is a master politician and handles problems diplomatically. He can speak well and attracts crowds with his charming and mesmerising speeches. He has read the mood and sentiments of the people. He takes care of party workers and campaigners and his election machinery is well organised. He ensures that everyone who visits his constituency goes back happily. Despite a few unpleasant incidences, Saravanan is confident of winning the Tapah constituency with a bigger majority.
Sungai Siput has always been a strong hold of MIC since the late VT Sambanthan. S Samy Vellu kept this seat from 1974 till the 2008 elections where he lost to a lightweight, Dr Michael Jayakumar of PSM, by 1,821 vote majority. Devamany, the vice president of MIC has been nominated for this seat. Najib has appointed Samy Vellu as the chairman of BN Sungai Siput and he has been working tirelessly as if he is the candidate of the seat. In fact, he goes to estates and villages and promises that he will repair dilapidated houses of the poor. He gives statements in the media and Devamany is playing his cards well by being humble, sitting behind Samy Vellu listening to his statements like an earnest understudy.
Dr Michael Jayakumar is a much respected person in this constituency and he is a cultured and a well-mannered human being. Initially he faced some misunderstanding with PKR and now it has been rectified. He can provide service to the people but he lacks fund. On the other hand BN has the funds and can transform Sungai Siput. The people of Sungai Siput will be in a better position to judge the situation on the ground. It is going to be a close fight and Devamany (Samy Vellu) is expected to win the seat by a slim majority.
Dr Subramaniam is contesting the Segamat seat and is facing Chua Jui Meng of Pakatan. Chua was preparing himself for the Gelang Patah seat but it was offered to Lim Kit Siang. He was upset for some time giving statements that he does not have a house and this gained sympathy for him. The Segamat seat was slotted for DAP and later this was offered to Chua after initially being given a cold reception by the DAP. Now he has rejuvenated himself and is giving a tough fight to Dr Subramaniam. Pakatan has vowed to capture the BN fortress in Johor and BN has been working overtime to keep the fortress with them. Pakatan is confident of capturing at least six parlimentary seats including Gelang Patah, Bakri, Kluang, Labis, Pontian and Dr Subramaniam’s Segamat constituency is also in the Pakatan’s target list.
Subramaniam has mastered the art of politics. He talks less but works efficiently behind the scenes. Even people close to him are unable to read his mind. He is in a non compromising mood and is not willing to hand over the baton to Pakatan, and he has not taken much rest since nomination day. He was even spotted campaigning around on a motorcycle. The prediction is a win for Pakatan but in fact Subramaniam has done his homework and is hoping for a comfortable victory.
Former MIC VP K Pathmanathan held this seat from 1974 until Sothinathan took over and kept the seat until 2008. Sothinathan was servicing this constituency and was hoping he will be given an opportunity contest in Teluk Kemang again. But this seat was given to VS Mogan the MIC information chief. This created some unrest in Sothinathan’s camp but this has been handled by the BN leadership and Sothinathan has closed ranks and is working for the victory of the BN candidate. This seat is a winnable seat if BN component parties and the local MIC is united. Mogan, a local boy, is expected to take back this seat from Pakatan.
P Kamalanathan the incumbent is facing a tough fight from PKR’s Khalid Jaafar and Masterskill CEO Edmund Santhara. Several MIC leaders were also lobbying for this seat and were working tirelessly in a hope that they will be fielded as a candidate in this constituency. V Mugilan, an influential deputy MIC Youth leader who was also instrumental for the anti-Samy Vellu movement was shocked to find out that he was not fielded for this constituency. He enjoys strong support from local Umno and other leaders here. Former Selangor MB Muhamad Muhd Taib has joined forces with Pakatan and has been actively campaigning in Selangor, especially in Hulu Selangor.
A surprise candidate is Edmund Santhara who has pledged to bring changes to this constituency and claims that he can easily secure 10,000 votes. Observers feel that he is contesting here just to split the votes to ensure that Kamalanathan is defeated in this election. Kamalanathan has been working round the clock visiting estates, kampungs, small villages pleading with constituents to give him a chance to carry on with his various programmes for the people of Hulu Selangor. He is quiet and speaks well in Bahasa Malaysia and a victory for him will uplift his political career in MIC. There is going to be a neck and neck battle in the Hulu Selangor constituency and the victor will win by a slim majority.
Prakash Rao, the former secretary to Devamany and a strong man of the Sri Murugan Centre as well a loyalist of SMY founder Professor Thambirajah, is contesting against incumbent R Sivarasa and two independents in Subang. He is the second candidate from Sri Murugan centre to contest in a parliamentary constituency apart from Devamany. The third candidate is L Krishnan who is contesting against Professor P Ramasamy for the Prai state seat. Many MIC leaders were eyeing and lobbying for this seat and lady luck is in favour of Prakash Rao. Prakash Rao feels that he will be able to make inroads in this constituency. He has deployed 100 Sri Murugan members to penetrate the constituency and has been working day and night for the past few months. He is a graduate and speaks well in all languages and he is confident of wresting back the seat from Sivarasa. PKR is confident of keeping this seat.
This seat was held by the outspoken PKR incumbent S Manikavasagam who has been transferred to Bukit Malawati state seat. Dr V Nedunchelian was strongly tipped to contest this seat but PKR decided to field lawyer G Manivanan. This caused some unhappiness among the locals who were working hard servicing the constituency. Several MIC leaders were expected to be fielded here, including D Ravindran of Pemandu, Madhu Marimuthu, T Ganesan and others. MIC finally fielded A Saktivel who is a CWC member. Apart from Manivanan, four other candidates are contesting as independents in this constituency.
Saktivel is a pleasant and a hard working person. He is non controversial. It would have been an uphill task for Saktivel if Manikavasagam or Dr Nedunchelian were fielded in Kapar. A tough fight is expected and a clearer picture will be seen on the eve of the election day. Umno has vowed to take back Selangor and Saktivel has their full support. Lady luck may shine on Saktivel if he works hard and is willing to be lavish with finances, which he lacks.
MIC secretary general and rising star T Murugesan has been nominated for this seat. During the last election, PAS candidate Siti Maria Mahmud won this constituency with a thumping majority of more than 20,000 votes. Human Rights Party’s pro tem secretary-general P Uthayakumar has joined the fray.
He is considered the spoiler, and the real fight is between the BN and PAS candidate. Murugesan has entered the fray with a five-point campaign. PAS has been servicing this constituency well and Murugesan will be a giant killer if he can defeat the PAS candidate.
This is the first general election for Palanivel after he took over the helm of MIC. He has done his best in selecting the candidates. Despite a political tsunami predicted by some, MIC is expected to increase its representation in parliament.
The claim of Palanivel losing his grip in MIC is utter rubbish as he enjoys the support of the party members and the CWC. Palani is a non-controversial leader and he doesn’t believe is staging cheap political stunts. He is focussed in his vision and mission to transform MIC and the take the Malaysian Indian community to greater heights. He works quietly and aggressively in succeeding in his demands which benefits the community at large.
During his term as a President of MIC he has initiated lot of programmes which has benefitted the party and the community. We should not compare a leader with another leader as everyone has his own style of leadership. Palanivel is silent but it cannot be concluded that this is a sign of his weakness. People who understand his silence will understand him better.
He believes in results and he has delivered a lot in a short span of time since he took over as the president and his achievements need not to be repeated again and again. His achievements are there to be seen. He may not be vocal as some but as a professional and no nonsense leader he believes any issues can be discussed behind closed doors and handled diplomatically through mediation rather than sensationalising them.
He may be not vocal but he encourages party leaders to be vocal and highlight issues affecting the community. He is not keen to take all the credit by himself and he encourages and motivates party leaders to continue to voice out the grievances of the community in their own style. He has no issue with this. He has given a free hand to the deputy, vice presidents, CWC as well as the Youth and the Wanita to speak freely on community issues.
On the claim whether he enjoys the support of the CWC as he has not removed Samy Vellu’s men in the CWC when he took over the presidency, Palanivel was chosen as the right and the bright candidate for the deputy president’s race and this has enabled him to become the President of MIC.
When Palanivel himself was a Samy Vellu man, why should he remove or replace leaders appointed by the former president to the CWC? Whatever said and written, he enjoys the support of the party and the CWC. All CWC meetings are conducted in a cordial manner and all are given an opportunity to highlight any issues pertaining to the community and good suggestions are taken into consideration and implemented.
Palanivel is a leader who forgets and forgives. It was during his time all prominent party leaders who were sacked were taken back into the party with continued membership as well they were given the privilege of holding their party posts held during their time of sacking. He opened the doors to everyone who was sacked to re-join MIC without any conditions including who were deadly against him. All this goes to prove he is a leader of wisdom and vision.
Palanivel has been a member of MIC since 1974 and he has worked under the leadership of various presidents. All the negative news is spread just to discredit his capabilities as MIC has become stronger, organised and a more accepted party now. His foundation is strong and any mischievous activities cannot shake him at all. His leadership style is appreciated and admired by MIC members and MIC will definitely do well in the 13th General Election.
MIC SS2 Tengah Branch chairman S Padnmanagan once again has come out with baseless and wild accusations that the Public Complains Bureau under G Palanivel’s leadership in the Prime Minister’s Department has been idle.
He has also claimed that the department was active under the ex-deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department T Murugiah. He went on to state that Palanivel has to learn from Murugiah on how to run the bureau.
Padnmanagan’s allegations are utter rubbish and his accusations are just to satisfy his personal vendetta against the MIC president. He should get his facts properly before he wants to discredit Palanivel.
Public Complains Bureau under Palanivel has performed above expectations. The bureau received a total of 13,356 complaints from January 2011 to December 2011 and out of this 13,045 complaints were resolved and 311 are still in action.
It received a total of 11,784 complaints for the period from January 2012 to November 2012 and 10,615 complaints were resolved while 1,169 are still in action.
Working with the NGO
Padnmanagan’s allegation that Palanivel does not have proper discussions and relationship with NGOs is also utter rubbish as the MIC leader conducts frequent dialogues and closed-door meetings with various NGOs.
Palanivel is very concerned of the development of the NGOs in carrying out their activities and he personally took special initiatives to speak to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to obtain funds for the NGOs.
Ever since he took over the MIC leadership, he has provided RM13,076,300 for 649 NGOs directly from the prime minister.
Both the above facts and figures clearly indicate that Padnmanagan is initiating a losing battle to discredit Palanivel.
Payment to Indian contractors
On Padnmanagan’s accusations that Indian contractors were not paid on time, I think it is best that he forward these queries to the Education Ministry and the Finance Ministry as they are the parties who handle the fund.
These ministries have to go through standard procedures before they could release payments to the contractors.
They have to be accountable that payments released are in accordance to job done.
At the same time the contractors should ensure that all the paperworks are in order to avoid any delays in payments. They should keep regular contacts with the relevant ministries to speed up the payments.
All the accusations made by Padnmanagan only proves that there is a desperate move to discredit Palanivel.
The MIC president is not a ‘tin kosong’ and his actions speak louder than his words. He is a religious and a no-nonsense person and his track record is clean.
There is no reason for him to fear anyone.
Lately, SS2 Tengah MIC branch chairman S Padnmanagan and few others have accused that MIC president G Palanivel has altered a Cabinet list on providing funds to partially-aided Tamil schools.
Tamil schools is a sensitive subject to the Indian community and some have taken this route to criticise and discredit the MIC president without knowing the real truth.
However, the leadership and majority of the members know who is behind this organised act, their vision and ultimate goal. However, all these baseless accusations and criticisms will fizzle out soon.
Ii is a known fact that Palanivel gives utmost prominence to Tamil schools and temples and it is during his era that a lot of allocations are sanctioned to Tamil schools and temples. Palanivel has been doing his best to develop as well as to give a facelift to Tamil schools in the country.
In fact, the future of Tamil schools and temples in the country runs in his blood and the facts and figures appended below is a clear testimony to the above statement.
There are 523 Tamil schools in the country of which 369 are partially-aided. The RM100 million allocation announced by the prime minister is meant for helping partially-aided Tamil schools for the year 2012.
Since the allocation of RM100 million is insufficient to upgrade all partially-aided Tamil schools, the Ministry of Education has consulted the relevant concerned agencies and implemented a criteria to handle this situation.
The first category which falls under this are schools in critical and unsafe condition for the children. The ministry has identified 184 schools under this category and allocated RM15.8 million to upgrade these schools.
The second category consist of schools which do not have additional blocks to accommodate the number of existing students. The ministry has identified 21 schools under this category and allocated RM39 million for these schools.
The third category is for relocating existing Tamil schools to new sites. The ministry has identified 19 schools under this category and allocated RM44.3 million for this purpose.
Palanivel is aware that the RM100 million is insufficient for the partially-aided Tamil schools and so he has requested for an allocation of another RM100 million and the prime minister has already sanctioned his request in the 2013 Budget.
In addition to this, during the recent MIC annual general assembly, Palanivel also requested the prime minister to sanction RM350 million every year for the duration of three years to give a facelift to all partially-aided Tamil schools.
This request almost amounts to RM1 billion and this shows that the MIC president has the vision and has been consistently harassing the government to achieve this cause.
He is quiet but not weak
Padnmanagan has also accused that the party leadership took the funds from the government in September while aid for other vernacular schools were released early this year. This accusation is also not true as the funds are handled by the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Education and this has nothing to do with the MIC leadership.
Padnmanagan has also accused that Palanivel single-handedly deprived allocation for many schools and even if the MIC central working committee (CWC) approves something, the party president has the authority to overrule the decision.
This claim is malicious and tantamount to undermining the image of the president as well as the credibility of the CWC members. The current CWC members are informative, vocal, open and far sighted. They discuss all issues without fear or favour.
Palanivel always takes collective decisions and it is during his era, freedom of speech has been given a new lease of life in MIC. We have seen this practiced and implemented during all state MIC conventions where he allows delegates to speak on any subject freely and doesn’t interfere or stop them.
The same procedure is also implemented during CWC meetings. Every member is given a chance to express their views and comments. All decisions are taken collectively and the MIC president does not misuse his powers. CWC members can testify to this.
On the challenge by Padnmanagan to list out the names of hardcore poor Indians who received aid under the party’s Reach and Teach Programme, Palanivel is “Mr Clean” and has nothing to hide.
This programme was extended to 25 schools nationwide and a total of 438 students have benefitted. This is a pilot project of MIC and the results of the 25 schools have been encouraging. The entire nation is a witness that the MIC president during the AGM requested the prime minister for an additional annual grant of RM10 million to extend this programme to all Tamil schools in this country.
Palanivel is quiet but this does not mean he is weak. He believes in delivering results for the community. He has been initiating and undertaking various projects for the benefit of the community and changes are taking place consistently.
It is better for us to sit down with the president and discuss any issues and resolve them in the spirit of brotherhood and for the future of Tamil schools. There is a solution for all issues and let us keep aside our differences and discuss.
When G Palanivel took over the MIC presidency nearly two years ago, he had two mammoth tasks ahead of him – to unite the various factions in the then fractured party and to recapture the Indian votes that Barisan Nasional lost in 2008.
He can be proud of the remarkable success he has achieved in the first task.
The second task is much more difficult. In 2008, about 65% of the Indian votes were against BN. MIC contested nine parliamentary seats and won only Segamat, Tapah and Cameron Highlands. It recaptured Hulu Selangor in a by-election in April 2010.
As the 13th general election approaches, many observers, including a major section of the Indian community, are wondering whether MIC can increase its representation in Parliament or even retain its four seats.
Palanivel has a subdued public face, especially when compared with his predecessor, S Samy Vellu. But still waters run deep. Those who know him well can testify to his visionary character and his diligence in pursuing progress for Indians. He is never short of innovative ideas for the uplift of the community.
In his quiet way, he has scored several notable achievements in the past two years, one of the latest being the government approval of RM100 million for renovations and upgrading works at Tamil schools. And he has obtained special permission from the prime minister to have these works undertaken by Indian contractors.
Another milestone in his political career was obtaining RM180 million for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) run by Indians. As a result, thousands of these entrepreneurs, sole proprietors and petty traders are expected to expand their businesses.
Palanivel is also working very closely with the Public Services Commission to increase the number of Indians in the civil service by 3,000 by the end of this year. He is also pushing for the promotion of Indians in the civil service, especially those who have been stagnating in their jobs for too long.
Also, for the first time in the Malaysian history, Palanivel has requested a special allocation in the 2013 national budget for activities to enhance the living standard of Indians, which would include opening up opportunities for their education.
The Indian community is following all these developments closely and the hatred towards MIC has largely been defused, thanks to Palanivel’s leadership style.
He recently presented to the prime minister MIC’s list of proposed candidates for the coming election, and it is believed that the PM’s reaction has been positive.
Palanivel has confirmed his intention to contest in the election, but has been keeping everyone guessing which seat he is eyeing. The guesses include Sungai Siput, Teluk Kemang, Kuala Langat and Cameron Highlands.
Although he has often visited and resolved issues in all four places, the strongest speculation seems to be that he has decided on Cameron Highlands. Last week, he again visited the hill resort. Among his activities there was to meet with 100 NGO leaders. He stunned a Chinese audience of politicians and civil society leaders by speaking in fluent Mandarin.
As the president of his party, Palanivel has the prerogative of contesting anywhere, including Cameron Highlands. The incumbent for this seat is SK Devamany, who has won it twice. In the last election, Devamany beat DAP’s J Apalasamy by more than 3,000 votes. MIC is tipped to retain the seat by an even bigger majority in the 13th general election.
MIC is also expected to retain Tapah with a bigger majority because its first term MP, M Saravanan, is known to have taken care of the constituency well. In 2008, he obtained 14,084 votes against the 11,064 garnered by PKR’s Tan Seng Toh.
Hulu Selangor also looks safe for MIC. P Kamalanathan won it against PKR’s Zaid Ibrahim in the 2010 by-election. It is perhaps worth noting that Palanivel went all out to campaign for Kamalanathan.
Segamat, currently held by party deputy president Dr S Subramaniam, is safe as well. In 2008, he received 15,921 votes against the 12,930 garnered by his rival, DAP’s Pang Hok Liong. In the next election, Dr Subramaniam is tipped to win by at least 5,000 votes.
Sungai Siput is a traditional MIC stronghold although it fell to the opposition in the 2008 political tsunami. It was held by two MIC presidents in the past. VT Sambanthan occupied the seat from 1955 to 1974, when Samy Vellu took over from him and held on to it for eight terms.
Parti Sosialis Malaysia’s Dr Michael D Jayakumar, the current MP for Sungai Siput, is soft spoken and well liked. In politics, however, the wise person often triumphs over the nice fellow. If Samy Vellu is fielded again for the seat, he is expected to win big, but he has said that he was not keen.
Sungai Siput went through a tremendous transformation when it was Samy Vellu’s seat. But MIC has not neglected it even after losing it. The party’s Sungai Siput office as well national leaders have been serving the constituency without fail. Palanivel makes routine visits to the area to look after the diverse needs of the people and he can win the seat if he decides to stand there.
But Sungai Siput will return to MIC even if the party president decides on Cameron Highlands for himself and shifts Devamany there.
Indeed, any candidate who is clean and has an excellent track record can win back the seat for MIC. For some time, MIC secretary-general S Murugesan was tipped to contest in Sungai Siput. Former deputy minister T Murugiah has also been speculated as a candidate for this constituency.
Teluk Kemang is another traditional MIC seat that fell in 2008. This seat was held by former party vice-president K Pathmanaban from 1974 to 1990, when S Sothinathan took over from him.
In 2008, Sothinathan was defeated by PKR’s Kamarul Bahrin Abbas, who garnered 23,348 votes against the MIC man’s 20,544 votes.
Pakatan Rakyat appears to believe that former MIC veteran G Muthupalaniappan’s entry into its midst will cause some problems to MIC in its bid to recapture Teluk Kemang. However, Negeri Sembilan MIC, Teluk Kemang MIC as well as Sothinathan himself have all been servicing the Teluk Kemang constituency well and the party is tipped to recapture the seat without much of a problem.
Down to earth
Another of the parliamentary seat that MIC lost in 2008 is Kota Raja. Then MIC Youth leader S Vikneswaran was defeated by a majority of 20,751 by Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud of PAS.
Dr Siti Mariah is a down-to-earth and simple person who mingles with the constituents freely without any protocol and restrictions. She is much respected for this reason, and MIC faces a tough battle to unseat her.
However, Vikneswaran who was active in NGOs for some time, is said to be working hard and is confident of his chances if he is fielded in Kota Raja. People aligned to him claim he has strong contacts with certain influential Umno leaders and that they would ensure his victory.
Kapar, too, was a MIC seat until the party’s women’s chief, M Komala Devi, was defeated by PKR’s S Manikavasagam in 2008.
Although MIC central working committee member A Saktivel is frequently seen in various functions held in Kapar, it will not be easy for the party to win back the seat from Manikavasagam, who is known for championing popular issues.
MIC’s GS Nijhar, who had won Subang in 2004, decided in 2008 to give way to the younger crop of leaders. Hence, S Murugesan was fielded against then PKR vice-president and prominent lawyer R Sivarasa. MIC lost by 6,000 votes. But Murugesan is tipped to contest again, perhaps in Subang and perhaps in Sungai Siput. Another name mentioned for Subang is D Ravindran.
This urban seat is economically developed and people will vote for personality and a good track record rather than for a party.
MIC is also expected to swap some seats with other BN parties. This is a good idea if other component parties have better chances in traditional MIC seats and MIC has better chances in other areas.
MIC president G Palanivel has the prerogative to contest in any parliamentary constituency of his choice including Cameron Highlands and the issue of back-stabbing anyone does not arise at all.
The MIC president and Cameron Highlands incumbent MP SK Devamany enjoy a good working relationship. The president has confidence in Devamany’s capabilities and he has assigned a special task to Devamany to cover certain MIC constituencies in Negeri Sembilan and Devamany is doing a good job.
Devamany himself has not commented anything on his seat and why unrelated parties should create an issue out of this?
Positions are not permanent to anyone in politics. Palanivel has not declared that he is going to contest in Cameron Highlands and it is not proper to comment on this before the announcement of MIC candidates.
Palanivel being the president may opt for surprise changes and this can only be known during the announcement of candidates.
Palanivel has also emphasised that the MIC candidates’ list will consist of new and old faces and that some incumbents who perform well will be retained. He has been very accommodative and fair to everyone including Devamany.
Devamany himself supports Palanivel’s style of leadership and works hard for the betterment of MIC.
Palanivel prefers serving the community without much publicity. As a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, he has contributed to his ability and party members, and the larger section of the community is well aware of his contributions.
Palanivel does not bow to Umno and he has bravely spoken whenever there was a need to do so. It was Palanivel who came out with an open statement condemning the act of parties continuously harassing Bersih co-chairman S Ambiga. This one incident proves he works closely with all parties including Umno for the sake of the community but he is not under their control.
The party members are aware that there is a small group within the party engaging outsiders to continuously and consistently discredit the party and the president.
This has been going on for some time and it is a matter of time their identities will come to public. Palanivel should not spend his precious time answering their claims but continue with his struggle to uplift the Malaysian Indian community at large.
The Barisan Nasional government is in a position to remove the excise duty imposed on cars as the main reason for imposing high duties on cars 28 years ago was to protect the local automotive industry and not to increase revenue. Most Malaysians are expecting that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak will introduce tax reforms on cars in the budget to be tabled on Sept 28 to reduce the burden and hardship of the people.
The National Automotive Policy (NAP) was introduced on March 22, 2006 to facilitate the required transformation and optimal integration of the networks within the increasingly liberalised and competitive global environment.
After more than three years of its introduction, the NAP was reviewed in an intention to foster a more competitive market for local and international companies. The government also believed that the review can provide significant contribution to the overall growth of the industry and the country.
However is it high time now that the NAP is reformed to suit the needs and to eradicate the hardship and sufferings of people.
After Pakatan Rakyat’s promise to abolish PTPTN loans, PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli has now said that Pakatan would abolish excise duty on cars which will drastically slash down car prices in the country. He added that this move was part of Pakatan’s election promises.
While the general public welcomes this move, politicians have expressed their concerns on this. In response, Umno Youth leader Khairy Jamaluddin dismissed the populist proposal and said that the idea would see Proton being at the losing end.
Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali also registered his concerns on this. Others have commented that the plan to slash duties and tax would send local car makers to grave.
However Rafizi claimed that under the proposal, Proton would still be among the cheapest cars in Malaysia and also quashed talks that the government would lose income as a result of removing the tax for cars.
He said a mechanism to make up for the loss of income will be formulated and announced by PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim soon. He added this proposal would be included in Pakatan’s election manifesto and be used as a major campaign issue for the opposition during the 13th general election.
People are fed up with character assassinations and infighting in politics but they welcome this type of healthy competition in politics. And the people are not prepared to hear the same tune that the country would go bankrupt if the duties on cars were to be removed.
The government should be proactive and open to viable suggestions. It must be more innovative and accommodative towards the sentiments and hardship of the people. Lessons from the Koreans
The BN-led government should be concerned that the disposable income of Malaysians has dropped tremendously.
If a person buys a car now, he has to pay 36 times of his monthly income which is very burdening. In other developed countries, people only pay 12 times of their monthly income for cars.
On the larger perspective, the public transport is not efficient at all. Owning a car is no longer a luxury but a necessity even to middle income groups with big families.
Malaysia is one of the few countries in the world where the banks practice giving long term loans up to the duration of nine years where middle income groups end up paying car loans for their lifetime.
Proton has not made much progress in penetrating the international market even though it has been spoon-fed by the government for the past 28 years. But the South Koreans who started to manufacture their own cars just some years before us have created history in the automobile industry.
The automobile industry in South Korea is currently the fifth largest in the world, measured by automobile unit production and the sixth largest by automobile export volume.
While its operation was merely the assembling of parts imported from Japan and the United States, South Korea is today among the most advanced automobile producing countries in the world.
Annual domestic output first exceeded one million units in 1988. In 1990, the industry manufactured numerous inhouse models, demonstrating not only its capabilities in terms of design, performance and technology but also signaling its coming of age.
Proton could not afford to be lethargic or sluggish anymore and the spoon-feeding by the government has to stop in the interest of the people.
Proton must come out with more proper and concerted efforts to compete in the global market.
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A current revealed that there is a sex video of a MIC leader in Perak who is a potential candidate in the coming General Election. Some parties have threatened to expose the video of him with a ‘sex worker’ from Thailand if the leader still aspires to contest in the next general election. The way the story has been exposed, one can vividly assume the motive of the video and the people behind this.
Allegations and exposing sex scandals have become a trend and permanent culture in our society particularly among politicians. This sort of hitting below the belt incidences have been going on for more than 10 years. This has become a disgusting and a nerve-racking notable trend in the country and this culture has to be stopped immediately for the interest of the nation.
No one differs in opinion that a person who is offering himself for public positions should be a man of impeccable integrity and credibility as his life is always open to public scrutiny. He should upkeep high moral values at all times. No one is questioning these basic qualities.
However, we should not stoop so low to expose a man’s personal failings which is common to most and it is very disgusting to be so obsessed with exposes of sexual incidents. As a nation we are seen to be so focused on this type of allegations whether it is Anwar, Chua Soi Lek, Lim Guan Eng or anyone for the matter whether they are from Pakatan or BN.
Lately scrutinising adultery, sexual affairs, extra marital affairs has become a favourite past time and a matter of utmost interest of some who adopt a shameless holier than thou attitude. There are matters of far more national and social significance that politicians should urgently address and attend to rather than sensationalising this personal failing of some.
Those who hurl allegations ought to understand that it is not the only person who is being targeted who is subject to undergo agony and stress but his loved ones and his community are also put to distress and trauma.
As the nation aspires to be transformed into a developed and high income nation, such distractions and side tracking is utterly unproductive. Let us therefore focus our energy and resources on substantive initiatives pertaining to the development, well being of the people as well as nation building. Please reform. Enough is enough.
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Rampant criminal activities are making people worried. Our cities and the country must be a safe place to encourage more tourists to flock in. In moving towards a developed nation, more preventatives measures like existence and patrolling of police or security forces must be in place.
At times, we are unable to see any police personnel in townships and recreational areas. The government should mobilise the army and Rela personals to curb the crime problems during this alarming situation.
Criminals will fear to act if there are presence and visibility of police or security forces. Besides public must be educated of their conduct or behaviour in public areas.
Public must not expose their valuables and attract criminals to charge at them. They must ensure their valuables are always safely kept. They must be always be alert while on the move, especially if they are alone. They should be more observant if they are being followed or lookout for suspicious characters.
The criminals have become braver. In a recent incident in Kampung Medan, an attempt was made by snatch thieves on a Malay couple on a motorcycle. Fortunately, the snatch thieves were apprehended by the husband with the help of the public.
This goes to prove that in a broad day light the criminals dare to stage a brave and a daring act. When such incident can happen in day light imagine what can happen in the night.
Former IGP Musa Hassan was reported to have said that the country’s public security level is at worrying stage and this cannot be taken lightly. He has also proposed the government conduct an independent survey to check the rise in criminal activities. Coming from a former top cop, this cannot be ignored lightly.
The current IGP Ismail Omar has, however, dismissed Musa’s statement, saying that this may be his personal view and does not reflect the real situation as international platforms like Genuine Programme Indicator (GPI) have stated the effectiveness of measures of the Malaysian police force to combat and reduce crime in the country.
Home Minister Hishammuddin has also given thumbs up to the police force and has said the reported few incidents of violent crimes were isolated and official data shows there is no cause of alarm.
But a survey conducted by a local English daily showed Selangor has the notoriety of being the state with the highest crime rate in the country. We feel that incidents reported in the media shows that the crime rate in Kuala Lumpur may possibly be high.
The reality is that while some cases are reported and highlighted in the media, majority of the cases are not reported as the victim feels that the chance of recovering the stolen items and solutions to their problems are slim.
It is very sad that women are continuously targeted and they feel very insecure when out in the street. While majority of the crimes are committed by locals, the entry of foreigners, especially the illegal’s, have worsened the situation.
You can witness the presence of foreigners if you walk into the streets of Kuala Lumpur on Sundays.
While others give facts and figures to justify their claim, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has come out with a satisfying statement that more measures have to be taken to combat crime.
To gain public trust and confidence, there is nothing wrong in conducting an independent study by a third party. The police need not feel dejected or upset about this as this will clear the air for once and for all.
We have one of the best police force in this region as they have proved their capability in handling huge crowds like rally by Hindraf, reformasi demonstrations and Bersih rallies. They have also resolved so many high profile cases.
It is a matter of accepting the truth and changing the mindset of the police force. What people need is upgrading of the law enforcement to ensure immediate assurance and solutions to public safety.
The ball is in the police court. It is their turn to “act”.
I would like to share a quote by Mahatma Gandhi: ‘A country is considered to have achieved its full independence only when women can walk safely in street at anytime without fear’.
Public Service Commission’s chairman Mahmood Adam has requested the views and opinions of NGOs on how to attract the Indian community to the civil service. He said only 4% of 1.4 million civil servants in Malaysia were Indians and this has raised the government’s concern.
He also claimed from 2009 till 2011, the commission has received an average of 1.167 million applications and out of this, there were only 20,000 applications from Indians (statistically only 2%). He further added that PSC will be conducting studies and gathering data on the lack of non Malays in the civil service which will be tabled soon to the Prime Minister.
However, the Indians may pose a question on why PSC waited till all these years to highlight this issue? The Indian community may feel this is a gimmick for whatever purpose. The PSC chairman, in his statement, did not highlighted on how many Indians were actually employed out of 20,000 Indian applicants.Enough of studies, more results needed
Most of the Indians are jaded of constant researches and studies and they don’t need promises made in ‘literal’ forms alone. They need real action and genuine commitment from the government to transform the nation’s bureaucracy.
The non attraction of Indians towards the civil service is well known and there is no need for the government to waste their time on studies. As a proverb goes “we can wake up someone who is sleeping but not someone who pretends to sleep”.
Same goes on the issue of Indians in the civil service.
One of the major factors behind this is the lack of access to information in the government service. Most of the advertisements are published in ‘Utusan Malaysia’ and ‘Berita Harian’. Most Indians might not have made these newspapers as their daily reading .
They might as well lack the experience in online applications or even consider online applications as a waste of precious time. In a nutshell, it might not be ‘their cup of tea’. They might have also had bad experiences travelling all the way to Putrajaya to obtain the relevant information and forms.
It all goes down to the services in the civil service and brings opportunities to the Indians. PSC may start the ball rolling by creating an awareness campaign commencing from colleges and universities on these needs.
Supplementing to this, they must hold road shows throughout every districts, states and all over the country if they are seriously genuine about it. PSC with sincere intention of recruiting Indians to the civil service must ensure that the recruitment process should not be rigid, tiring, long winded and demotivating.
If PSC is facing difficulty in handling this task, they may resort to requesting the help from NGOs and working hand in hand with them. Those NGOs chosen should be the ones without political affiliations and has a proven track record of having only public’s interest in mind.
First and foremost, the Indians must be convinced that the government is truly sincere in their mission to bring in more Indians to the civil service. Otherwise, the skepticism among Indians on the government’s sincerity in wanting to evolve an ethnically balanced civil service can’t be conveniently ignored. Hence, the government has to look at this from a different perspective.Perception of Indians
Najib Tun Razak has to work towards a ‘paradigm shift’ of such perceptions. Mahathir claims that the minority are dictating terms to the majority, which is not true. One has to look at the historic development and ethnic balance perspective from expanding back from 1960 until now.
During those days, the civil service was far more efficient and responsive to the needs of the people. However, currently the civil service is seen to be dominated by the overwhelming rate of mono ethnic group.
In order to refresh some facts, during the 60s and 70s, the Bumi community was stricken with massive poverty level and inability to opportunities for self improvement. Thus, the National Economic Policy (NEP) was introduced.Indians were excluded
However, the Indians were increasingly excluded from entry into the civil service being lumped together with other ethnic groups as non-Malays. This unfortunate decision was effectively disastrous for the Indian community as they not only found themselves unable to access job opportunities in the business, commercial , industrial sectors but also in the civil service which were largely reserved for Malays.
In other words, Indians generously found themselves difficult to enter the private sector as well as the public sector. Then they were largely confined to doing odd jobs, plantations and being estate workers, from the remote and rural areas as well as to the urban slums.
They lost out in educational opportunities and upward mobility in the society. It is totally undeniable that this has further led them towards social problems such as poverty, high dropouts, alcoholism, drug addiction, broken homes, gangsterism which affected most of the Indian youths.Double whammy
Even the entrance into the civil service is highly discriminatory for the Indians; a few Indian employees in the civil service were once again subject to highly imbalanced promotional opportunities as well as scholarship, career development within the civil service.
Therefore the Indian community is faced with double whammy at the entrance level as well as at the self development level in the civil service. Even if qualified Indians in the civil service were to be promoted on merit, the civil service racial proportion will still reflect an imbalanced ethnic structure enormously.Transformation can start from MOF
Now under the national transformation agenda driven by the PM, the current ethnic imbalance in the civil service has to be urgently addressed and rectified. There ought to be sincerity in action rather than sloganeering and mere words that ignores the realities of current state of affairs. Such a bold measure will generate confidence among all players in the nation including uplifting invest sentiments among investors both in the domestic front as well as foreigners.Indians in GLCs
GLC is something which is considered an extension of civil service. To add fuel to fire, GLC is equally being ignorant about the participation of the Indian community in civil service. They play a major role in the national transformation including the country’s economy, human capital development and etc.
As playing by the gallery offering a few high profile positions to a handful Indians will not convince the community’s perception of an equal treatment. There are lots of talented Indians in the country and the appointment in the GLCs and civil service must be reflective of the population of Indians. States with low Indian population like Kelantan and Terengganu is acceptable but in states which have high Indian population, the representation must be increased accordingly.
Statistically speaking, there are about 2000 staffs in MOF including Sabah and Sarawak. There are only three Section Heads (One Jusa B and two Jusa C) and there are about four Indian officers at M54 level whose promotions are long overdue. Royal Malaysian Customs has about 12,000 staff and only two Indians are holding the post of a director.
Very highly proficient, capable and talented senior Indian officers in the MOF and Royal Malaysian Customs are stagnating in their career development for many many years. Does this reflect the real racial proposition? Does this reflect the ‘One Malaysia’ concept?
If the government is really genuine and sincere about the Indians in the civil service, perhaps the transformation can begin in the PM’s own Ministry of Finance and Royal Malaysian Customs. Our PM should be promoting Indians who are eligible under his portfolio immediately.
By the government’s sincere initiatives to promote the existing Indian members of the civil service for a start from MOF and Royal Malaysian Customs on merit will provide the right signals to the larger Indian community that the civil service is an avenue of a viable and promising career path for the Indian youths.
Only the Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has the moral courage to venture on this transformational path of balanced national development.
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