PETALING JAYA: The MIC, which had often held the deputy education minister’s post until the fall of Barisan Nasional (BN) in 2018, is set to be given the portfolio again when the Cabinet reshuffle is announced soon, according to sources.
They said this and the addition of two more Indian deputy ministers from PKR and DAP are seen as some of the steps being taken by the unity government following the loss of Indian votes in recent elections.
One insider said the party had submitted two names to Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim to be considered for the posts of a minister and deputy education minister.
“MIC deputy president M Saravanan has been nominated for a minister’s post while the party’s education bureau head Nelson Renganathan has been proposed for the deputy education minister’s post.
“It will also be a boost for the estimated 500 Tamil schools in the country. Nelson’s vast experience in running private educational institutions puts him in good stead,” the party source told FMT. The last time the post was given to MIC was during Najib Razak’s 2013 administration when P Kamalanathan was appointed.
Nelson, 61, is a first-time senator appointed in November 2021, which makes him eligible to hold the position for another four years from now if he is reappointed after his first-term expires next year. He is also the party’s former Youth chief and national treasurer.
When contacted, Nelson said he was leaving the decision to the party and Anwar as the appointments were the prime minister’s prerogative.
As for Saravanan, a party insider said the former human resources minister was unlikely to be in the Cabinet but would likely be offered the post of special envoy for South Asia, a position that was held by party president SA Vigneswaran until the unity government took over.
“It is unlikely to be the human resources ministry as there is too much controversy involved. Although speculation is rife that its current minister V Sivakumar is most likely to be dropped, it may not go to another Indian representative,” he said.
The party insider said the Tapah MP had apparently indicated that he would most probably not accept anything less than a Cabinet post but he might be left with no choice under the circumstances as Anwar was playing a crucial balancing act to accommodate the numerous parties in his government.
“There are also demands from his Sabah and Sarawak partners for additional Cabinet posts and deputy ministers. There is a possibility that the Cabinet may be expanded from its current 27 ministers,” he said.
Vigneswaran declined to comment when contacted.