Ahad, 26 Julai 2009

MIC leader joins list of defections from BN to PKR

KUALA LUMPUR, July 25 — Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim succeeded today in bringing into PKR ex-MIC vice president Datuk S.S. Subramaniam and the members of 12 MIC branches.

The senior ex-MIC man brought with him his younger brother and some 2,500 members from 12 MIC branches within Petaling Jaya and Meru, Klang into the PKR fold.

The defections were touted as a boost for the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) but it is unclear how significant Subramaniam’s move is, considering he has little influence left in the Barisan Nasional (BN) party.

But coming on the heels of former MCA vice-president Datuk Chua Jui Meng’s defection into PKR last week, Anwar will be hoping to gain some momentum from Subramaniam’s decision to join PKR.

Besides Subramaniam and Chua, Anwar had also succeeded in attracting former Umno minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim into PKR as attempts to strengthen his party’s position as a lynchpin in PR.

Anwar and other PKR leaders with the MIC men who crossed over.
He will also be hoping the defections can bolster his party’s and PR’s claims of being a truly multiracial platform in his quest to dethrone BN and take federal power.

Speaking before the mostly Indian crowd numbering some 300 people at a function announcing the defections, Anwar told them the questionable deaths in detention of Teoh Beng Hock and A. Kugan were linked, rousing their interest.

He told them the two dead men were linked because they had both suffered class persecution at the hands of the wealthy BN government, which had failed their duty “to protect the rights of ordinary Malaysian citizens.”

“There are two laws: one law for the big men, and one law for the poor,” the Permatang Pauh MP said, working the crowd into a fever.

They exploded into thunderous applause and cheers when he delivered his last pitch: “I'm not an Indian but I'm here giving you my solemn oath that I'll defend the rights of every Malaysian citizen.”

Subramaniam said he had been supportive of PKR's multiracial, multicultural policies for a long time.

But for him personally, it was the government's flip on education policies, particularly the teaching mathematics and science in English that finally convinced him that change could only come with PR.

Subramaniam said it was Anwar's timely meet with him last week, beseeching him to “come and help” tell the Indian community that their only hope lay with PR, which prompted his leap to the other side.

He stressed that he did not cross over to gain any plump position within PKR, when asked if he had been promised a spot in the party leadership.

“I've already had that,” smiled Subramaniam, whose last government role was as parliamentary secretary to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry in 1995.

“Before I go, I want to do something for the people of this country,” said the 72-year-old.

"In Barisan Nasional, MIC occupies the lowest place," he said, stressing that the party was wracked by in-fighting caused by party chief Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu's preferential treatment towards members of his own caste.

It is an open secret that Subramaniam had opposed Samy Vellu on many occasions, causing him to be dropped from the vice-president’S post in 1994 in favour of his successor who bears a similar name, Dr S. Subramaniam.

"But what we must have is a country that is united in diversity," said Subramaniam.

But the MIC Taman Perangsang branch chief has yet to actually hand in his MIC quit papers and PKR membership form. He told reporters later that he would do so next week.

Subramaniam said he had yet to hear from Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu directly, but added that he heard from a second-hand source his ex-party boss badmouthing him in a Tamil Nesan newspaper report yesterday.

There was little more left to say to his ex-boss, he said.

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