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  Media Conference Statement by Lim Kit Siang at the Perak DAP State hqrs in Ipoh on Tuesday, 19th February 2008 at 1 pm:

Moves afoot for S. Subra to become the next MIC leader as Samy Vellu’s days are numbered – with some UMNO “movers-and-shakers” forcing Samy’s political retirement and withdrawal as candidate in the next general election 

Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu has become the most unpopular politician in the country and probably in Malaysian history, being booed, jeered, car blocked, thrown stones, rotten eggs and even slippers almost every day in public places.

This public rejection of Samy Vellu has spread to MIC and Barisan Nasional (BN) functions, with other MIC and BN leaders becoming also the target of public resentment and fury, as illustrated by the meet-the-people session led by Perak Mentri Besar and Barisan Nasional chief Datuk Seri Mohamad Tajol Rosli Ghazali in Buntong, Ipoh yesterday.

The political days of Samy Vellu, MIC President and sole Indian Cabinet Minister for over 28 years, are numbered. Moves in fact are afoot for the former deputy president, Datuk S. Subramaniam, to become the next MIC leader as Samy Vellu is slowly phased out of the political scene.

I expect Subra to make a political comeback on Sunday on his nomination as a Barisan Nasional candidate for the 12th general election and preparatory to his joining the Cabinet – something Subra had been denied and been waiting for nearly three decades.

I understand that there are some UMNO “movers-and-shakers” who want a faster pace of ending the political days of Samy Vellu – wanting to force Samy’s political retirement and withdrawal as candidate in the next general election.

I am not interested in the internal politicking of UMNO, MIC, MCA, Gerakan or Barisan Nasional component parties but what must be a matter of grave national concern is the consolidation of UMNO political hegemony and relentless marginalization of the other BN component parties like MCA, Gerakan and MIC.

Apart from this example of some UMNO “movers-and-shakers” wanting to pressurize Samy Vellu to step down as MIC President, showing the utterly marginalized role of MIC in BN, there is a host of examples of greater UMNO political hegemony at the price of relentless marginalization of MCA, Gerakan, MIC and other BN component parties.

Another recent example is the farce of the Acting Gerakan President, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, submitting three names to the Barisan Nasional Chairman Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to pick on who should be the next Penang Gerakan Chief Minister – a most unprecedented surrendering of the Gerakan prerogative to decide who should be the next Penang Gerakan Chief Minister.

When Tsu Koon became Penang Chief Minister in 1990, it was the decision of the Gerakan Central Working Committee (although more correctly the then Gerakan President Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik) in its choice between two candidates – Tsu Koon or Dr. Goh Cheng Teik.

The Gerakan CWC took the final decision on Tsu Koon as the Penang Gerakan Chief Minister to replace Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu in 1990 and the then Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad was not given two names by the Gerakan President to decide on who should be the Gerakan Penang Chief Minister.

If Mahathir could respect Gerakan’s right, power and prerogative to decide on who should be the next Gerakan Penang Chief Minister, why is this political situation not respected by Abdullah 18 years later?

Why should Tsu Koon and Gerakan surrender its power to pick the next Penang Gerakan Chief Minister – if the Gerakan had not been terribly marginalized in the past 18 years since 1990 that it dare not even stand on its unchallenged prerogative less than two decades ago?

Is Abdullah prepared to return the list of three names back to Tsu Koon, stating that he would respect the Gerakan’s prerogative to decide who should be the next Penang Gerakan Chief Minister?

The instances of MCA being relentlessly marginalized in the Barisan Nasional in the past few decades will fill volumes.

* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman


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