PUTERA MIC

NEGERI SEMBILAN – TOWARDS 3G LEADERS

Vellpaari Interview For Malaysian-Insider

 Vellpaari Interview For Malaysian-Insider

By Baradan Kuppusamy

KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 — S. Vell Paari is something of an enigma having been in the shadows of his powerful and domineering father – Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu — all these years.

But things are beginning to change for Paari, 47, a burly married man weighing over 115kg with a nine-year-old daughter Bhavya Vel studying at the elite Alice Smith International School.

Paari, the CEO of the controversy-hit Maika Holdings, plans to launch his political career by running for a vice-president’s post in the MIC elections in September.

He had long wanted to enter politics formally but his father had always opposed it.

But after the March 8 general election disaster Samy Vellu announced he would not stop Paari from contesting.

His defeat in Sungei Siput had brought him closer to Paari, his only son, after others close to him deserted him in the aftermath of his defeat, MIC insiders said.

“Paari was one of the few who stood by his father and Samy Vellu appreciates it,” said a MIC insider.

Paari, who holds a diploma in architecture, hopes to win but does not want a post in the government.

“We need someone from outside to boldly criticise the government,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

He has been getting prominent coverage in recent months in the family-owned Tamil Nesan daily, commenting on national and international issues, including the urgent need to protect and promote the welfare of Tamils here and abroad.

But some of his father’s scandals and his own have stymied his standing, earned him ridicule in the Indian community and is set to hinder his ambitions to be a political leader like his father.

His links to the death of his secretary Sujatha Krishnan, a former actress, had also damaged his standing in the community.

He denies having a hand in her death or having an affair with her and maintains she died after consuming paraquat.

“The ongoing inquest will clear me of any wrongdoing,” he said in the interview in which he also describes how his father took his defeat in Sungei Siput, the future of Maika Holdings, his take on the Nov 25 Hindraf protest and when his father would finally call it a day.

Below are excerpts of the interview:

Q: You are currently caught in a controversy over the death of actress Sujatha Krishnan who was your secretary. Did you have an affair with her?

A: No sir, I did not. I also had no hand in her death as alleged by opposition MP Manikavasagam (PKR Kapar).

Q: What really is the situation?

A: She took paraquat and I really don’t know why. But the inquest will clear my name. I don’t want to go into details as the inquest is ongoing and we might commit subjudice. All I can say is that I have done nothing wrong.

Q: Are you running for MIC vice-president?

A: I have not made a final decision but I will be a hypocrite if I say I am not keen. I am very interested to contest but will make a final decision next month. I have a few issues to clear and one is to find a “final solution” to Maika Holdings. My father has also said he will not oppose if I contest. I want to start my own political career and contesting means launching such a career. I want to contribute to the Indian community and to do that one needs a political platform.

Q: Are you up to it?

A: I have a lot of experience. I have handled political matters for my father and party members and leaders know me. I know them all. My father has no objection so I feel right time to come out now.

Q: Why vice-president?

A: I need a senior position to start off. Party members are pushing me to go for vice-president. I also feel a need a senior position to enhance my standing.

Q: How did you become CEO of Maika Holdings? Do you have any corporate experience?

A: I was already involved with Maika Holdings helping directors with several issues when they suggested I become CEO. I am not a greenhorn. I have experience in business. I had my own company, Oka Motor, in Australia which was taken over by a reverse takeover. I am not all dumb as some people would make it out.

Q: When did you become CEO and what had you hoped to achieve?

A: I was made CEO in 1999. My friends warned me not to take the job, saying it would ruin my life but I felt I could turn it over. When I took over the share was worth 28 sen but now it is about RM1.

Q: Where does Maika Holdings stand now? Is it viable? Is there new business coming in?

A: It is viable but political opponents have destroyed it. There are no new business except for the insurance holdings (Maika’s share in UOA) and two pieces of land. No other business.

Q: Are you paid as CEO?

A: I started as CEO without payment. Then they paid me RM15,000 a month. Lately (for about a year now) I am not being paid as we are cutting costs.

Q: There is so much anger and passion about Maika Holdings. What is the final plan for Maika?

A: We have cleared most of the debts. If we sell Maika the shareholders can get RM1 per share inclusive of bonus shares. There was a RM1.75 offer per Maika share by a listed company but Nesa Co-operative (linked with former MIC deputy president Datuk S. Subramaniam) took an injunction to stop the sale. There was a delay in lifting the injunction, the economic conditions changed and the buyer moved on.

Q: What’s the final plan?

A: The final plan is to sell, pay back the shareholders and wind up the company.

Q: But I understand some shareholders want to revive Maika?

A: Yes, some shareholders want to move assets to a new company under a new name and all over again under a new and capable leadership. We have many corporate talents out there we can hire.

Q: Are there new offers to buy out Maika Holdings?

A: Yes, two parties are interested and the offer is better than the first offer. The parties are writing to Bank Negara for permission to negotiate. If it comes through we can pay all shareholders and wind up Maika in about a year. But an AGM will have to be called and approval sought on this.

Q: That’s it?

A: Yes, sell everything, pay off shareholders and wind up the company. It still can be saved but the community is divided, there is no unity. They make political statements, bashed up Maika. If this can end we can have a powerful Maika.

Q: Any one person to be blamed for the failure?

A: No… I don’t want to blame any individual. All I can say is when I took over it was worth 28 sen and now it is worth over RM1.

Q: What went wrong then?

A: The business decision (to invest in soft drinks, glove-making, etc) was not right. We competed against giants and lost. We made one business decision but two years down the line the business environment had changed.

Q: But isn’t that the same for everyone… I mean the risk?

A: We were hit once too often and political enemies are always attacking us. Who would want to do business with Maika which was constantly under attack?

Q: How do you rationalise the severe criticism the MIC gets?

A: Well we don’t have the political muscle of Umno or the economic muscle of the MCA so we get bashed up. As a party we rely on what we get from government. We make do with what we get.

Q: Why didn’t the MIC push for more?

A: You see we were under this myth that if you pushed you would be penalised and that MIC rivals like PPP would be favoured. It was classic divide and rule and we did not push fearing we lose what little we have. We are all under this myth — that you can push the government only so much, beyond that… no.

Q: Maybe you did not want to push being part of the Umno set up?

A: We had the community to answer to on one side and at the same time we were part of the government. We were in a Catch-22 position. If you push too much you would be sidelined. The Sothinathan issue is an example. It is always like you push, I will undermine.

(MIC vice-president Datuk S. Sothinathan was suspended from Parliament for three months for breaking government ranks over the qualification of medical students in Ukraine.)

Q: How about the Nov 25 rally?

A: I called them myth busters, they broke the myth that you cannot push, that the government is invincible. The political tsunami happened and everybody… Malays, Chinese and Indians voted opposition. Suddenly we have guts to talk now. We are voicing out for the Indian community. Speaking up and we are not worried anymore.

Q: The community punished MIC on March 8?

A: No I would say the community punished the government not the MIC because over a period frustration has been building up. We went out trying to save the government’s respect and we ended up losing our respect!

Q: What is the situation now a year later?

A: The MIC remains vibrant and the government especially under Datuk Seri Najib is very sensitive and responsive. The bureaucracy is still slow to respond.

Q: How did your father take the Sungei Siput defeat?

A: He told me a day earlier that it was a tough battle and to get prepared mentally for a defeat. He was ready for defeat. He accepted the verdict. We kept most of the Indian votes but Malay and Chinese voters were lost leading to defeat.

Q: When is your father planning to hand over?

A: He does not want to remain forever. He knows he has to hand over. In fact last August he told us he wants to take leave and asked Palani (deputy president Datuk G. Palanivel) to take over as acting president. He (Samy Vellu) told us that when he returns from leave he would formalise the arrangement. But party leaders were not ready for it… they want him to stay for a while. In December he said the same thing and they objected again.

Q: But he has a departure plan?

A: He is ready. He has said he will hand over once the deputy his elected. I would say about a year after the deputy is elected

Enter the son as Samy Vellu gets ready to depart

Paari plans to contest a MIC vice-president’s post in the party’s September elections. — Pictures by Jack Ooi

By Baradan Kuppusamy

KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 — S. Vell Paari is something of an enigma having been in the shadows of his powerful and domineering father – Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu — all these years.

But things are beginning to change for Paari, 47, a burly married man weighing over 115kg with a nine-year-old daughter Bhavya Vel studying at the elite Alice Smith International School.

Paari, the CEO of the controversy-hit Maika Holdings, plans to launch his political career by running for a vice-president’s post in the MIC elections in September.

He had long wanted to enter politics formally but his father had always opposed it.

But after the March 8 general election disaster Samy Vellu announced he would not stop Paari from contesting.

His defeat in Sungei Siput had brought him closer to Paari, his only son, after others close to him deserted him in the aftermath of his defeat, MIC insiders said.

“Paari was one of the few who stood by his father and Samy Vellu appreciates it,” said a MIC insider.

Paari, who holds a diploma in architecture, hopes to win but does not want a post in the government.

“We need someone from outside to boldly criticise the government,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

He has been getting prominent coverage in recent months in the family-owned Tamil Nesan daily, commenting on national and international issues, including the urgent need to protect and promote the welfare of Tamils here and abroad.

But some of his father’s scandals and his own have stymied his standing, earned him ridicule in the Indian community and is set to hinder his ambitions to be a political leader like his father.

His links to the death of his secretary Sujatha Krishnan, a former actress, had also damaged his standing in the community.

He denies having a hand in her death or having an affair with her and maintains she died after consuming paraquat.

“The ongoing inquest will clear me of any wrongdoing,” he said in the interview in which he also describes how his father took his defeat in Sungei Siput, the future of Maika Holdings, his take on the Nov 25 Hindraf protest and when his father would finally call it a day.

Below are excerpts of the interview:

Q: You are currently caught in a controversy over the death of actress Sujatha Krishnan who was your secretary. Did you have an affair with her?

A: No sir, I did not. I also had no hand in her death as alleged by opposition MP Manikavasagam (PKR Kapar).

Q: What really is the situation?

A: She took paraquat and I really don’t know why. But the inquest will clear my name. I don’t want to go into details as the inquest is ongoing and we might commit subjudice. All I can say is that I have done nothing wrong.

Q: Are you running for MIC vice-president?

A: I have not made a final decision but I will be a hypocrite if I say I am not keen. I am very interested to contest but will make a final decision next month. I have a few issues to clear and one is to find a “final solution” to Maika Holdings. My father has also said he will not oppose if I contest. I want to start my own political career and contesting means launching such a career. I want to contribute to the Indian community and to do that one needs a political platform.

Q: Are you up to it?

A: I have a lot of experience. I have handled political matters for my father and party members and leaders know me. I know them all. My father has no objection so I feel right time to come out now.

Q: Why vice-president?

A: I need a senior position to start off. Party members are pushing me to go for vice-president. I also feel a need a senior position to enhance my standing.

Q: How did you become CEO of Maika Holdings? Do you have any corporate experience?

A: I was already involved with Maika Holdings helping directors with several issues when they suggested I become CEO. I am not a greenhorn. I have experience in business. I had my own company, Oka Motor, in Australia which was taken over by a reverse takeover. I am not all dumb as some people would make it out.

Q: When did you become CEO and what had you hoped to achieve?

A: I was made CEO in 1999. My friends warned me not to take the job, saying it would ruin my life but I felt I could turn it over. When I took over the share was worth 28 sen but now it is about RM1.

Q: Where does Maika Holdings stand now? Is it viable? Is there new business coming in?

A: It is viable but political opponents have destroyed it. There are no new business except for the insurance holdings (Maika’s share in UOA) and two pieces of land. No other business.

Q: Are you paid as CEO?

A: I started as CEO without payment. Then they paid me RM15,000 a month. Lately (for about a year now) I am not being paid as we are cutting costs.

Q: There is so much anger and passion about Maika Holdings. What is the final plan for Maika?

A: We have cleared most of the debts. If we sell Maika the shareholders can get RM1 per share inclusive of bonus shares. There was a RM1.75 offer per Maika share by a listed company but Nesa Co-operative (linked with former MIC deputy president Datuk S. Subramaniam) took an injunction to stop the sale. There was a delay in lifting the injunction, the economic conditions changed and the buyer moved on.

Q: What’s the final plan?

A: The final plan is to sell, pay back the shareholders and wind up the company.

Q: But I understand some shareholders want to revive Maika?

A: Yes, some shareholders want to move assets to a new company under a new name and all over again under a new and capable leadership. We have many corporate talents out there we can hire.

Q: Are there new offers to buy out Maika Holdings?

A: Yes, two parties are interested and the offer is better than the first offer. The parties are writing to Bank Negara for permission to negotiate. If it comes through we can pay all shareholders and wind up Maika in about a year. But an AGM will have to be called and approval sought on this.

Q: That’s it?

A: Yes, sell everything, pay off shareholders and wind up the company. It still can be saved but the community is divided, there is no unity. They make political statements, bashed up Maika. If this can end we can have a powerful Maika.

Q: Any one person to be blamed for the failure?

A: No… I don’t want to blame any individual. All I can say is when I took over it was worth 28 sen and now it is worth over RM1.

Q: What went wrong then?

A: The business decision (to invest in soft drinks, glove-making, etc) was not right. We competed against giants and lost. We made one business decision but two years down the line the business environment had changed.

Q: But isn’t that the same for everyone… I mean the risk?

A: We were hit once too often and political enemies are always attacking us. Who would want to do business with Maika which was constantly under attack?

Q: How do you rationalise the severe criticism the MIC gets?

A: Well we don’t have the political muscle of Umno or the economic muscle of the MCA so we get bashed up. As a party we rely on what we get from government. We make do with what we get.

Q: Why didn’t the MIC push for more?

A: You see we were under this myth that if you pushed you would be penalised and that MIC rivals like PPP would be favoured. It was classic divide and rule and we did not push fearing we lose what little we have. We are all under this myth — that you can push the government only so much, beyond that… no.

Q: Maybe you did not want to push being part of the Umno set up?

A: We had the community to answer to on one side and at the same time we were part of the government. We were in a Catch-22 position. If you push too much you would be sidelined. The Sothinathan issue is an example. It is always like you push, I will undermine.

(MIC vice-president Datuk S. Sothinathan was suspended from Parliament for three months for breaking government ranks over the qualification of medical students in Ukraine.)

Q: How about the Nov 25 rally?

A: I called them myth busters, they broke the myth that you cannot push, that the government is invincible. The political tsunami happened and everybody… Malays, Chinese and Indians voted opposition. Suddenly we have guts to talk now. We are voicing out for the Indian community. Speaking up and we are not worried anymore.

Q: The community punished MIC on March 8?

A: No I would say the community punished the government not the MIC because over a period frustration has been building up. We went out trying to save the government’s respect and we ended up losing our respect!

Q: What is the situation now a year later?

A: The MIC remains vibrant and the government especially under Datuk Seri Najib is very sensitive and responsive. The bureaucracy is still slow to respond.

Q: How did your father take the Sungei Siput defeat?

A: He told me a day earlier that it was a tough battle and to get prepared mentally for a defeat. He was ready for defeat. He accepted the verdict. We kept most of the Indian votes but Malay and Chinese voters were lost leading to defeat.

Q: When is your father planning to hand over?

A: He does not want to remain forever. He knows he has to hand over. In fact last August he told us he wants to take leave and asked Palani (deputy president Datuk G. Palanivel) to take over as acting president. He (Samy Vellu) told us that when he returns from leave he would formalise the arrangement. But party leaders were not ready for it… they want him to stay for a while. In December he said the same thing and they objected again.

Q: But he has a departure plan?

A: He is ready. He has said he will hand over once the deputy his elected. I would say about a year after the deputy is elected

Enter the son as Samy Vellu gets ready to depart

Paari plans to contest a MIC vice-president’s post in the party’s September elections. — Pictures by Jack Ooi

By Baradan Kuppusamy

KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 — S. Vell Paari is something of an enigma having been in the shadows of his powerful and domineering father – Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu — all these years.

But things are beginning to change for Paari, 47, a burly married man weighing over 115kg with a nine-year-old daughter Bhavya Vel studying at the elite Alice Smith International School.

Paari, the CEO of the controversy-hit Maika Holdings, plans to launch his political career by running for a vice-president’s post in the MIC elections in September.

He had long wanted to enter politics formally but his father had always opposed it.

But after the March 8 general election disaster Samy Vellu announced he would not stop Paari from contesting.

His defeat in Sungei Siput had brought him closer to Paari, his only son, after others close to him deserted him in the aftermath of his defeat, MIC insiders said.

“Paari was one of the few who stood by his father and Samy Vellu appreciates it,” said a MIC insider.

Paari, who holds a diploma in architecture, hopes to win but does not want a post in the government.

“We need someone from outside to boldly criticise the government,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

He has been getting prominent coverage in recent months in the family-owned Tamil Nesan daily, commenting on national and international issues, including the urgent need to protect and promote the welfare of Tamils here and abroad.

But some of his father’s scandals and his own have stymied his standing, earned him ridicule in the Indian community and is set to hinder his ambitions to be a political leader like his father.

His links to the death of his secretary Sujatha Krishnan, a former actress, had also damaged his standing in the community.

He denies having a hand in her death or having an affair with her and maintains she died after consuming paraquat.

“The ongoing inquest will clear me of any wrongdoing,” he said in the interview in which he also describes how his father took his defeat in Sungei Siput, the future of Maika Holdings, his take on the Nov 25 Hindraf protest and when his father would finally call it a day.

Below are excerpts of the interview:

Q: You are currently caught in a controversy over the death of actress Sujatha Krishnan who was your secretary. Did you have an affair with her?

A: No sir, I did not. I also had no hand in her death as alleged by opposition MP Manikavasagam (PKR Kapar).

Q: What really is the situation?

A: She took paraquat and I really don’t know why. But the inquest will clear my name. I don’t want to go into details as the inquest is ongoing and we might commit subjudice. All I can say is that I have done nothing wrong.

Q: Are you running for MIC vice-president?

A: I have not made a final decision but I will be a hypocrite if I say I am not keen. I am very interested to contest but will make a final decision next month. I have a few issues to clear and one is to find a “final solution” to Maika Holdings. My father has also said he will not oppose if I contest. I want to start my own political career and contesting means launching such a career. I want to contribute to the Indian community and to do that one needs a political platform.

Q: Are you up to it?

A: I have a lot of experience. I have handled political matters for my father and party members and leaders know me. I know them all. My father has no objection so I feel right time to come out now.

Q: Why vice-president?

A: I need a senior position to start off. Party members are pushing me to go for vice-president. I also feel a need a senior position to enhance my standing.

Q: How did you become CEO of Maika Holdings? Do you have any corporate experience?

A: I was already involved with Maika Holdings helping directors with several issues when they suggested I become CEO. I am not a greenhorn. I have experience in business. I had my own company, Oka Motor, in Australia which was taken over by a reverse takeover. I am not all dumb as some people would make it out.

Q: When did you become CEO and what had you hoped to achieve?

A: I was made CEO in 1999. My friends warned me not to take the job, saying it would ruin my life but I felt I could turn it over. When I took over the share was worth 28 sen but now it is about RM1.

Q: Where does Maika Holdings stand now? Is it viable? Is there new business coming in?

A: It is viable but political opponents have destroyed it. There are no new business except for the insurance holdings (Maika’s share in UOA) and two pieces of land. No other business.

Q: Are you paid as CEO?

A: I started as CEO without payment. Then they paid me RM15,000 a month. Lately (for about a year now) I am not being paid as we are cutting costs.

Q: There is so much anger and passion about Maika Holdings. What is the final plan for Maika?

A: We have cleared most of the debts. If we sell Maika the shareholders can get RM1 per share inclusive of bonus shares. There was a RM1.75 offer per Maika share by a listed company but Nesa Co-operative (linked with former MIC deputy president Datuk S. Subramaniam) took an injunction to stop the sale. There was a delay in lifting the injunction, the economic conditions changed and the buyer moved on.

Q: What’s the final plan?

A: The final plan is to sell, pay back the shareholders and wind up the company.

Q: But I understand some shareholders want to revive Maika?

A: Yes, some shareholders want to move assets to a new company under a new name and all over again under a new and capable leadership. We have many corporate talents out there we can hire.

Q: Are there new offers to buy out Maika Holdings?

A: Yes, two parties are interested and the offer is better than the first offer. The parties are writing to Bank Negara for permission to negotiate. If it comes through we can pay all shareholders and wind up Maika in about a year. But an AGM will have to be called and approval sought on this.

Q: That’s it?

A: Yes, sell everything, pay off shareholders and wind up the company. It still can be saved but the community is divided, there is no unity. They make political statements, bashed up Maika. If this can end we can have a powerful Maika.

Q: Any one person to be blamed for the failure?

A: No… I don’t want to blame any individual. All I can say is when I took over it was worth 28 sen and now it is worth over RM1.

Q: What went wrong then?

A: The business decision (to invest in soft drinks, glove-making, etc) was not right. We competed against giants and lost. We made one business decision but two years down the line the business environment had changed.

Q: But isn’t that the same for everyone… I mean the risk?

A: We were hit once too often and political enemies are always attacking us. Who would want to do business with Maika which was constantly under attack?

Q: How do you rationalise the severe criticism the MIC gets?

A: Well we don’t have the political muscle of Umno or the economic muscle of the MCA so we get bashed up. As a party we rely on what we get from government. We make do with what we get.

Q: Why didn’t the MIC push for more?

A: You see we were under this myth that if you pushed you would be penalised and that MIC rivals like PPP would be favoured. It was classic divide and rule and we did not push fearing we lose what little we have. We are all under this myth — that you can push the government only so much, beyond that… no.

Q: Maybe you did not want to push being part of the Umno set up?

A: We had the community to answer to on one side and at the same time we were part of the government. We were in a Catch-22 position. If you push too much you would be sidelined. The Sothinathan issue is an example. It is always like you push, I will undermine.

(MIC vice-president Datuk S. Sothinathan was suspended from Parliament for three months for breaking government ranks over the qualification of medical students in Ukraine.)

Q: How about the Nov 25 rally?

A: I called them myth busters, they broke the myth that you cannot push, that the government is invincible. The political tsunami happened and everybody… Malays, Chinese and Indians voted opposition. Suddenly we have guts to talk now. We are voicing out for the Indian community. Speaking up and we are not worried anymore.

Q: The community punished MIC on March 8?

A: No I would say the community punished the government not the MIC because over a period frustration has been building up. We went out trying to save the government’s respect and we ended up losing our respect!

Q: What is the situation now a year later?

A: The MIC remains vibrant and the government especially under Datuk Seri Najib is very sensitive and responsive. The bureaucracy is still slow to respond.

Q: How did your father take the Sungei Siput defeat?

A: He told me a day earlier that it was a tough battle and to get prepared mentally for a defeat. He was ready for defeat. He accepted the verdict. We kept most of the Indian votes but Malay and Chinese voters were lost leading to defeat.

Q: When is your father planning to hand over?

A: He does not want to remain forever. He knows he has to hand over. In fact last August he told us he wants to take leave and asked Palani (deputy president Datuk G. Palanivel) to take over as acting president. He (Samy Vellu) told us that when he returns from leave he would formalise the arrangement. But party leaders were not ready for it… they want him to stay for a while. In December he said the same thing and they objected again.

Q: But he has a departure plan?

A: He is ready. He has said he will hand over once the deputy his elected. I would say about a year after the deputy is elected

Enter the son as Samy Vellu gets ready to depart

Paari plans to contest a MIC vice-president’s post in the party’s September elections. — Pictures by Jack Ooi

By Baradan Kuppusamy

KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 — S. Vell Paari is something of an enigma having been in the shadows of his powerful and domineering father – Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu — all these years.

But things are beginning to change for Paari, 47, a burly married man weighing over 115kg with a nine-year-old daughter Bhavya Vel studying at the elite Alice Smith International School.

Paari, the CEO of the controversy-hit Maika Holdings, plans to launch his political career by running for a vice-president’s post in the MIC elections in September.

He had long wanted to enter politics formally but his father had always opposed it.

But after the March 8 general election disaster Samy Vellu announced he would not stop Paari from contesting.

His defeat in Sungei Siput had brought him closer to Paari, his only son, after others close to him deserted him in the aftermath of his defeat, MIC insiders said.

“Paari was one of the few who stood by his father and Samy Vellu appreciates it,” said a MIC insider.

Paari, who holds a diploma in architecture, hopes to win but does not want a post in the government.

“We need someone from outside to boldly criticise the government,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

He has been getting prominent coverage in recent months in the family-owned Tamil Nesan daily, commenting on national and international issues, including the urgent need to protect and promote the welfare of Tamils here and abroad.

But some of his father’s scandals and his own have stymied his standing, earned him ridicule in the Indian community and is set to hinder his ambitions to be a political leader like his father.

His links to the death of his secretary Sujatha Krishnan, a former actress, had also damaged his standing in the community.

He denies having a hand in her death or having an affair with her and maintains she died after consuming paraquat.

“The ongoing inquest will clear me of any wrongdoing,” he said in the interview in which he also describes how his father took his defeat in Sungei Siput, the future of Maika Holdings, his take on the Nov 25 Hindraf protest and when his father would finally call it a day.

Below are excerpts of the interview:

Q: You are currently caught in a controversy over the death of actress Sujatha Krishnan who was your secretary. Did you have an affair with her?

A: No sir, I did not. I also had no hand in her death as alleged by opposition MP Manikavasagam (PKR Kapar).

Q: What really is the situation?

A: She took paraquat and I really don’t know why. But the inquest will clear my name. I don’t want to go into details as the inquest is ongoing and we might commit subjudice. All I can say is that I have done nothing wrong.

Q: Are you running for MIC vice-president?

A: I have not made a final decision but I will be a hypocrite if I say I am not keen. I am very interested to contest but will make a final decision next month. I have a few issues to clear and one is to find a “final solution” to Maika Holdings. My father has also said he will not oppose if I contest. I want to start my own political career and contesting means launching such a career. I want to contribute to the Indian community and to do that one needs a political platform.

Q: Are you up to it?

A: I have a lot of experience. I have handled political matters for my father and party members and leaders know me. I know them all. My father has no objection so I feel right time to come out now.

Q: Why vice-president?

A: I need a senior position to start off. Party members are pushing me to go for vice-president. I also feel a need a senior position to enhance my standing.

Q: How did you become CEO of Maika Holdings? Do you have any corporate experience?

A: I was already involved with Maika Holdings helping directors with several issues when they suggested I become CEO. I am not a greenhorn. I have experience in business. I had my own company, Oka Motor, in Australia which was taken over by a reverse takeover. I am not all dumb as some people would make it out.

Q: When did you become CEO and what had you hoped to achieve?

A: I was made CEO in 1999. My friends warned me not to take the job, saying it would ruin my life but I felt I could turn it over. When I took over the share was worth 28 sen but now it is about RM1.

Q: Where does Maika Holdings stand now? Is it viable? Is there new business coming in?

A: It is viable but political opponents have destroyed it. There are no new business except for the insurance holdings (Maika’s share in UOA) and two pieces of land. No other business.

Q: Are you paid as CEO?

A: I started as CEO without payment. Then they paid me RM15,000 a month. Lately (for about a year now) I am not being paid as we are cutting costs.

Q: There is so much anger and passion about Maika Holdings. What is the final plan for Maika?

A: We have cleared most of the debts. If we sell Maika the shareholders can get RM1 per share inclusive of bonus shares. There was a RM1.75 offer per Maika share by a listed company but Nesa Co-operative (linked with former MIC deputy president Datuk S. Subramaniam) took an injunction to stop the sale. There was a delay in lifting the injunction, the economic conditions changed and the buyer moved on.

Q: What’s the final plan?

A: The final plan is to sell, pay back the shareholders and wind up the company.

Q: But I understand some shareholders want to revive Maika?

A: Yes, some shareholders want to move assets to a new company under a new name and all over again under a new and capable leadership. We have many corporate talents out there we can hire.

Q: Are there new offers to buy out Maika Holdings?

A: Yes, two parties are interested and the offer is better than the first offer. The parties are writing to Bank Negara for permission to negotiate. If it comes through we can pay all shareholders and wind up Maika in about a year. But an AGM will have to be called and approval sought on this.

Q: That’s it?

A: Yes, sell everything, pay off shareholders and wind up the company. It still can be saved but the community is divided, there is no unity. They make political statements, bashed up Maika. If this can end we can have a powerful Maika.

Q: Any one person to be blamed for the failure?

A: No… I don’t want to blame any individual. All I can say is when I took over it was worth 28 sen and now it is worth over RM1.

Q: What went wrong then?

A: The business decision (to invest in soft drinks, glove-making, etc) was not right. We competed against giants and lost. We made one business decision but two years down the line the business environment had changed.

Q: But isn’t that the same for everyone… I mean the risk?

A: We were hit once too often and political enemies are always attacking us. Who would want to do business with Maika which was constantly under attack?

Q: How do you rationalise the severe criticism the MIC gets?

A: Well we don’t have the political muscle of Umno or the economic muscle of the MCA so we get bashed up. As a party we rely on what we get from government. We make do with what we get.

Q: Why didn’t the MIC push for more?

A: You see we were under this myth that if you pushed you would be penalised and that MIC rivals like PPP would be favoured. It was classic divide and rule and we did not push fearing we lose what little we have. We are all under this myth — that you can push the government only so much, beyond that… no.

Q: Maybe you did not want to push being part of the Umno set up?

A: We had the community to answer to on one side and at the same time we were part of the government. We were in a Catch-22 position. If you push too much you would be sidelined. The Sothinathan issue is an example. It is always like you push, I will undermine.

(MIC vice-president Datuk S. Sothinathan was suspended from Parliament for three months for breaking government ranks over the qualification of medical students in Ukraine.)

Q: How about the Nov 25 rally?

A: I called them myth busters, they broke the myth that you cannot push, that the government is invincible. The political tsunami happened and everybody… Malays, Chinese and Indians voted opposition. Suddenly we have guts to talk now. We are voicing out for the Indian community. Speaking up and we are not worried anymore.

Q: The community punished MIC on March 8?

A: No I would say the community punished the government not the MIC because over a period frustration has been building up. We went out trying to save the government’s respect and we ended up losing our respect!

Q: What is the situation now a year later?

A: The MIC remains vibrant and the government especially under Datuk Seri Najib is very sensitive and responsive. The bureaucracy is still slow to respond.

Q: How did your father take the Sungei Siput defeat?

A: He told me a day earlier that it was a tough battle and to get prepared mentally for a defeat. He was ready for defeat. He accepted the verdict. We kept most of the Indian votes but Malay and Chinese voters were lost leading to defeat.

Q: When is your father planning to hand over?

A: He does not want to remain forever. He knows he has to hand over. In fact last August he told us he wants to take leave and asked Palani (deputy president Datuk G. Palanivel) to take over as acting president. He (Samy Vellu) told us that when he returns from leave he would formalise the arrangement. But party leaders were not ready for it… they want him to stay for a while. In December he said the same thing and they objected again.

Q: But he has a departure plan?

A: He is ready. He has said he will hand over once the deputy his elected. I would say about a year after the deputy is elected

Enter the son as Samy Vellu gets ready to depart

Paari plans to contest a MIC vice-president’s post in the party’s September elections. — Pictures by Jack Ooi

By Baradan Kuppusamy

KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 — S. Vell Paari is something of an enigma having been in the shadows of his powerful and domineering father – Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu — all these years.

But things are beginning to change for Paari, 47, a burly married man weighing over 115kg with a nine-year-old daughter Bhavya Vel studying at the elite Alice Smith International School.

Paari, the CEO of the controversy-hit Maika Holdings, plans to launch his political career by running for a vice-president’s post in the MIC elections in September.

He had long wanted to enter politics formally but his father had always opposed it.

But after the March 8 general election disaster Samy Vellu announced he would not stop Paari from contesting.

His defeat in Sungei Siput had brought him closer to Paari, his only son, after others close to him deserted him in the aftermath of his defeat, MIC insiders said.

“Paari was one of the few who stood by his father and Samy Vellu appreciates it,” said a MIC insider.

Paari, who holds a diploma in architecture, hopes to win but does not want a post in the government.

“We need someone from outside to boldly criticise the government,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

He has been getting prominent coverage in recent months in the family-owned Tamil Nesan daily, commenting on national and international issues, including the urgent need to protect and promote the welfare of Tamils here and abroad.

But some of his father’s scandals and his own have stymied his standing, earned him ridicule in the Indian community and is set to hinder his ambitions to be a political leader like his father.

His links to the death of his secretary Sujatha Krishnan, a former actress, had also damaged his standing in the community.

He denies having a hand in her death or having an affair with her and maintains she died after consuming paraquat.

“The ongoing inquest will clear me of any wrongdoing,” he said in the interview in which he also describes how his father took his defeat in Sungei Siput, the future of Maika Holdings, his take on the Nov 25 Hindraf protest and when his father would finally call it a day.

Below are excerpts of the interview:

Q: You are currently caught in a controversy over the death of actress Sujatha Krishnan who was your secretary. Did you have an affair with her?

A: No sir, I did not. I also had no hand in her death as alleged by opposition MP Manikavasagam (PKR Kapar).

Q: What really is the situation?

A: She took paraquat and I really don’t know why. But the inquest will clear my name. I don’t want to go into details as the inquest is ongoing and we might commit subjudice. All I can say is that I have done nothing wrong.

Q: Are you running for MIC vice-president?

A: I have not made a final decision but I will be a hypocrite if I say I am not keen. I am very interested to contest but will make a final decision next month. I have a few issues to clear and one is to find a “final solution” to Maika Holdings. My father has also said he will not oppose if I contest. I want to start my own political career and contesting means launching such a career. I want to contribute to the Indian community and to do that one needs a political platform.

Q: Are you up to it?

A: I have a lot of experience. I have handled political matters for my father and party members and leaders know me. I know them all. My father has no objection so I feel right time to come out now.

Q: Why vice-president?

A: I need a senior position to start off. Party members are pushing me to go for vice-president. I also feel a need a senior position to enhance my standing.

Q: How did you become CEO of Maika Holdings? Do you have any corporate experience?

A: I was already involved with Maika Holdings helping directors with several issues when they suggested I become CEO. I am not a greenhorn. I have experience in business. I had my own company, Oka Motor, in Australia which was taken over by a reverse takeover. I am not all dumb as some people would make it out.

Q: When did you become CEO and what had you hoped to achieve?

A: I was made CEO in 1999. My friends warned me not to take the job, saying it would ruin my life but I felt I could turn it over. When I took over the share was worth 28 sen but now it is about RM1.

Q: Where does Maika Holdings stand now? Is it viable? Is there new business coming in?

A: It is viable but political opponents have destroyed it. There are no new business except for the insurance holdings (Maika’s share in UOA) and two pieces of land. No other business.

Q: Are you paid as CEO?

A: I started as CEO without payment. Then they paid me RM15,000 a month. Lately (for about a year now) I am not being paid as we are cutting costs.

Q: There is so much anger and passion about Maika Holdings. What is the final plan for Maika?

A: We have cleared most of the debts. If we sell Maika the shareholders can get RM1 per share inclusive of bonus shares. There was a RM1.75 offer per Maika share by a listed company but Nesa Co-operative (linked with former MIC deputy president Datuk S. Subramaniam) took an injunction to stop the sale. There was a delay in lifting the injunction, the economic conditions changed and the buyer moved on.

Q: What’s the final plan?

A: The final plan is to sell, pay back the shareholders and wind up the company.

Q: But I understand some shareholders want to revive Maika?

A: Yes, some shareholders want to move assets to a new company under a new name and all over again under a new and capable leadership. We have many corporate talents out there we can hire.

Q: Are there new offers to buy out Maika Holdings?

A: Yes, two parties are interested and the offer is better than the first offer. The parties are writing to Bank Negara for permission to negotiate. If it comes through we can pay all shareholders and wind up Maika in about a year. But an AGM will have to be called and approval sought on this.

Q: That’s it?

A: Yes, sell everything, pay off shareholders and wind up the company. It still can be saved but the community is divided, there is no unity. They make political statements, bashed up Maika. If this can end we can have a powerful Maika.

Q: Any one person to be blamed for the failure?

A: No… I don’t want to blame any individual. All I can say is when I took over it was worth 28 sen and now it is worth over RM1.

Q: What went wrong then?

A: The business decision (to invest in soft drinks, glove-making, etc) was not right. We competed against giants and lost. We made one business decision but two years down the line the business environment had changed.

Q: But isn’t that the same for everyone… I mean the risk?

A: We were hit once too often and political enemies are always attacking us. Who would want to do business with Maika which was constantly under attack?

Q: How do you rationalise the severe criticism the MIC gets?

A: Well we don’t have the political muscle of Umno or the economic muscle of the MCA so we get bashed up. As a party we rely on what we get from government. We make do with what we get.

Q: Why didn’t the MIC push for more?

A: You see we were under this myth that if you pushed you would be penalised and that MIC rivals like PPP would be favoured. It was classic divide and rule and we did not push fearing we lose what little we have. We are all under this myth — that you can push the government only so much, beyond that… no.

Q: Maybe you did not want to push being part of the Umno set up?

A: We had the community to answer to on one side and at the same time we were part of the government. We were in a Catch-22 position. If you push too much you would be sidelined. The Sothinathan issue is an example. It is always like you push, I will undermine.

(MIC vice-president Datuk S. Sothinathan was suspended from Parliament for three months for breaking government ranks over the qualification of medical students in Ukraine.)

Q: How about the Nov 25 rally?

A: I called them myth busters, they broke the myth that you cannot push, that the government is invincible. The political tsunami happened and everybody… Malays, Chinese and Indians voted opposition. Suddenly we have guts to talk now. We are voicing out for the Indian community. Speaking up and we are not worried anymore.

Q: The community punished MIC on March 8?

A: No I would say the community punished the government not the MIC because over a period frustration has been building up. We went out trying to save the government’s respect and we ended up losing our respect!

Q: What is the situation now a year later?

A: The MIC remains vibrant and the government especially under Datuk Seri Najib is very sensitive and responsive. The bureaucracy is still slow to respond.

Q: How did your father take the Sungei Siput defeat?

A: He told me a day earlier that it was a tough battle and to get prepared mentally for a defeat. He was ready for defeat. He accepted the verdict. We kept most of the Indian votes but Malay and Chinese voters were lost leading to defeat.

Q: When is your father planning to hand over?

A: He does not want to remain forever. He knows he has to hand over. In fact last August he told us he wants to take leave and asked Palani (deputy president Datuk G. Palanivel) to take over as acting president. He (Samy Vellu) told us that when he returns from leave he would formalise the arrangement. But party leaders were not ready for it… they want him to stay for a while. In December he said the same thing and they objected again.

Q: But he has a departure plan?

A: He is ready. He has said he will hand over once the deputy his elected. I would say about a year after the deputy is elected

June 12, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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