Samy Vellu Shocker Attack Sothinathan
By Baradan Kuppusamy
KUALA LUMPUR, July 22— MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu who is fielding his own team of candidates for the September 12 party elections, has declared war on former loyalist Datuk S Sothinathan, calling him a traitor.
“I have done so much for him, I treated him like my own child. See what he is doing now,” Samy Vellu said of Sothinathan at a close door gathering of Federal Territory MIC delegates at the Dragon Chinese restaurant in Kampung Pandan yesterday.
The MIC president also criticised Sothinathan for allegedly making disparaging remarks about his son Vell Paari, the Maika Holding CEO.
Samy Vellu’s tirade signals the end of a long relationship that party insiders say was akin to that of a father and son with an unwritten promise that Sothinathan would inherit the presidency.
Samy Vellu said he chose Sothinathan as candidate for the Teluk Kemang by-election in June 2000 eventhough the latter was not even an MIC member at that time.
“I had him selected as parliamentary secretary and even deputy minister and see now what he is doing,” Samy Vellu told the delegates.
He also challenged Sothinathan to a debate over Maika Holdings, which has suffered massive losses, but on condition the debate was behind closed doors and only for MIC members.
Samy Vellu is upset that Sothinathan is going against his wishes by contesting the deputy presidency in the three way contest against incumbent and Samy Vellu loyalist Datuk G. Palanivel and former incumbent Datuk S. Subramaniam.
The party president and his hardcore supporters fear that with Sothinathan in the race the votes of the 1,500 delegates would be split three ways, giving arch rival Subramaniam a slim chance to slip through.
But a strong Subramaniam supporter told The Malaysian Insider that Samy Vellu and Sothinathan were acting out a drama.
He said Sothinathan would split the votes of the gounder caste that number about 500 among the delegates who have always backed Subramaniam.
“Both Subramaniam and Sothinathan are gounder and are fighting for the same vote bank,” said the supporter who is a senior MIC member. “Sothinathan is actually paving the way for a Palanivel victory by splitting the gounder votes.”
Whatever the case, Samy Vellu has turned his wrath on Sothinathan and his action is seriously diminishing the latter’s chances in the September 12 contest.
Yesterday’s ten-table dinner was also attended by Palanivel, vice-president candidates Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam, Datuk S. K .Devamany and Datuk S. Saravanan.
As delegates tucked into Sichuan prawns and steam fish, Samy also hit out at Subramaniam as the man who destroyed Maika Holdings and the “hidden hand” behind all the division and infighting in the Indian community.
Although Samy Vellu did not mention the Telekom shares issue but delegates took his reference to “Maika Holdings” when criticising Sothinathan as referring to the controversy over the alleged “hijacking” of nine million Telekom shares in 1992.
Samy Vellu was investigated on the allegations but was cleared of any wrongdoing by the then Anti-Corruption Agency.
The issue had gripped the Indian community for nearly a decade and is still occasionally raised by opposition MPs.
The government originally gave 10 million shares to Maika but later said it was a mistake and offered Maika one million and diverted the remaining nine million to three companies linked to Samy Vellu.
Samy Vellu explained that the three companies sold their shares and the proceeds were channeled to the MIC-owned Tafe College, an explanation that is still disputed.
Sothinathan was director of one of the three companies and was also questioned by the ACA.
Several calls to Sothinathan went unaswered
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