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Bouquets and brickbats for Palanivel’s 100 days

 | March 22, 2011

G Palanivel has received A- and B- for his performance as MIC president but he has yet to undergo a baptism of fire.

PETALING JAYA: G Palanivel became the eighth MIC president, succeeding S Samy Vellu on Dec 6, last year.

Shortly after that, he roped in people who had issues with Samy Vellu back into the party such as former Petaling Jaya Selatan division leader, Barat Maniam.

One key issue for the community itself was the controversial Form Five Bahasa novel, Interlok.

Lately, he urged poor Indians who cannot eke out a living in urban settings to return to the estates.

The young guns in MIC sang words of praises for their president in conjunction with his 100 days into power.

MIC secretary-general, S Murugesan, told FMT that “Palanivel is more accommodating, inclusive, focused and open in his own way”.

Murugesan, who was appointed secretary-general during Samy Vellu’s time, was given the boot in May 2010 after going against the former president.

He was reinstated shortly after Palanivel became party chief.

MIC Youth chief T Mohan also echoed Murugesan’s appraisal, confirming the cordial relationship that the wing has with Palanivel.

“Our Youth wing is strongly backing our president,” said Mohan.

Scandal-free man

Party veterans also gave him accolades.

Former party vice-president, KS Nijhar, when contacted, said that Palanivel was able to win back Indian votes and unite the community.

Palanivel’s greatest asset, in Nijhar’s words, is that “he is scandal-free and can be trusted to lead the party and the community with just values”.

Former party secretary-general G Vadiveloo was rather reluctant to comment as he is no longer in the party’s central working committee.

Nevertheless, he said: “Palanivel has not done much in his 100 days and his recent back-to-estate proposal is mired in controversy.”

Baptism of fire

Similarly, analysts too had positive words for Palanivel.

KS Balakrishnan, a political analyst based in Universiti Malaya, gave Palanivel a B- whereas P Sivamurugan, who is deputy dean of humanities in Universiti Sains Malaysia, gave him an A- for his performance thus far.

However, both agreed that Palanivel’s baptism of fire would come at the next general election.

Sivamurugan also had a word of caution for Palanivel:

“He should also focus on education, small and medium enterprises and other business opportunities instead of Tamil schools and Hindu temples as it would help to rope in young Indian professionals.”

A 100 days of failure

Meanwhile, opposition law-makers had less than sweet words for Palanivel.

Kapar MP S Manikavasagam of PKR dubbed Palanivel’s 100 days as a “failure”.

“He is worse than  Samy Vellu as he is telling Indians to go back to estates. Samy Vellu brought Indians out.”

Palanivel was also criticised for not taking a firm stand on the controversial Interlok issue.

Klang MP Charles Santiago of DAP summed up the MIC chief’s 100 days: “A 100 days full of blunder, silence and lack of leadership.”

On relations within the party, Santiago said: “Palanivel has driven a wedge between his supporters and those of Samy Vellu.”


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