‘Remove Kenneth Eswaran as biz group president’

Kenneth-Eswaran

PETALING JAYA: Leaders of two state Indian guilds, which are affiliated to the Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MAICCI), want their president Kenneth Eswaran to resign as he does not qualify under the association’s constitution.

Selangor Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry president P Muguntha said MAICCI’s constitution only allowed a person of Indian origin to lead the organisation.

“Kenneth is of Sri Lankan origin and was even born there. He only came to Malaysia later and then obtained his Malaysian citizenship,” he said.

According to Muguntha, the constitution states the term “Indian” applied to person/s, company or firm of Indian origin or with 51% Indian shareholdings residing in or operating a business in Malaysia.

Muguntha, who was removed from MAICCI last June for raising Kenneth’s eligibility, said he had lodged a police report and complaints with the Registrar of Societies (RoS).

Kenneth first served as president between 2002 and 2004 and again from 2008 up till now.

“I only found out recently that he is not qualified following some investigations,” Muguntha told FMT.

Muguntha claimed that Kenneth had called for a MAICCI special delegates’ conference tomorrow to amend the constitution to allow anyone who comes from South Asia to hold key positions.

“We feel that he must now resign and that his position at MAICCI is no longer tenable,” he said, warning that any such amendment will also include person/s of Indian ancestry or those originating from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan.

Weighing in on the issue, Sabah Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry president V Suppiah said Kenneth had failed to observe the rules of MAICCI.

“He has no respect for the rule of law and removed those who questioned him,” Suppiah said, adding that Kenneth also liked to “throw his weight around and used the name of Prime Minister Najib Razak”.

“Frankly, Najib and his administration are actually making efforts to help Indian businessmen but Kenneth is the stumbling block,” Suppiah said.

Suppiah, who compared MAICCI with the 50-year-old Malaysian Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said the latter had progressed by leaps and bounds.

“They have a 20-storey building and employ 120 staff, including research officers for the betterment of their members and business community,” he added.

Both men said they would not engage in legal battles as the “wheel of justice grinds very slowly” and the legal cost was also high.

Meanwhile, Kenneth said he was eligible to hold the position in MAICCI as he was the president of the Johor chapter of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“I am not only the Johor chapter president but a delegate who is eligible to contest the position,” he said.

Kenneth confirmed the special delegates conference was called to polish up and remove any ambiguity in the outdated constitution of MAICCI.

“The constitution must keep up with changing times,” he added.

Kenneth also challenged those who were unhappy with his leadership and the way MAICCI was managed to seek legal redress.