FMT LETTER: From P Gunaseelan, via e-mail
MIC president G Palanivel has been in MIC politics since 1974 and has vast experience in selecting the right candidates to contest in the 13th General election. MIC is the third largest party in BN with an estimated membership of 650,000. There are 150 division leaders and 3,700 branch chairman nationwide. MIC was allocated 9 Parliament and 19 state seats in the 2008 General Election and won 3 out of the 9 parliament seats contested and won Ulu Selangor in the by election. MIC won 6 out of 19 state seats it contested in the last general elections.
MIC has undergone a leadership change and Palanivel’s vision is to transform MIC to be an effective and a relevant party to the Malaysian Indian community. Every leader has his own style and without much publicity, Palanivel has been trying his best to be accommodative in resolving the problems of the Indian community. He has been given the mammoth task of setting issues right which were unresolved and dragging for more than 30 years and it is only fair that he needs time to straighten all these issues.
The 13th General Election is an acid test for Palanivel. He has been given a heavy responsibility of picking a total of 28 candidates for parliament and state constituencies. It is not easy to pick 28 candidates from 3,700 branch chairman and 150 division leaders. Politics and power are addictive and it is not easy to let them go just like that. Incumbents will resort to lot of tactics directly and indirectly to stay in power. Most of them are not prepared to face the world without the title ‘YB’.
At the same time new aspiring candidates will also try their luck by initiating various tactics to attract the president. Palanivel does not believe in people holding positions for long and he has even set guidelines that all GLC’s appointments are only for a term. People feels that it will be also good if he can set some time frame for holding political positions like MPs, state assemblymen deputy ministers and ministers. While the effective performers can be given a chance to re contest, some should not be too greedy that the positions and power are permanent and belongs to them forever.
We could not see the intense lobbying and prediction for seats among other component parties of BN like Umno and MCA. But the situation in MIC is totally different. Lately lot of predictions and support in the form of statements write ups supporting certain incumbents appear in the print media frequently. Observers feel that this is a form of indirect pressure on the leadership which is not healthy for the party.
People expect politicians to serve the community and not greedy to sustain position and power. If they are loyal to the leadership and the party and have served exceptionally well, then they will definitely l be considered. At the same time the Indian community also needs talented young and new faces to serve the community. It is high time that the MIC members leave the selection of the candidates to the MIC president and he will definitely come out with a list of candidates which is acceptable to the BN leadership as well as the community.
The writer is the President of the Malaysian Public Service Association