Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Khir Toyo enters MIC fray, attacks Samy Vellu

Khir says Samy Vellu gave the OK to demolish the temple. — File pic

By Baradan Kuppusamy

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 12 – Former Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo has waded into the battle raging in the MIC between the Samy Vellu-Subramaniam factions by accusing the MIC president of giving the green light to demolish the Padang Jawa Sri Maha Mariammam temple that had sparked widespread anger and led to the 2007 Hindraf protests.

In an exclusive interview with the Makkal Osai Tamil daily that is the mouthpiece of former deputy president Datuk S. Subramaniam, Khir, now opposition leader in Selangor, said Samy Vellu telephoned him “one night about 11pm” during the crisis and told him to pull down the temple.

“He (Samy Vellu) said Hindraf people were gathering at the temple and turning it into a protest,” Khir told the newspaper. “He said to pull down the temple to stop them and not to give them room.

“Because the leader of the community is asking, I instructed the state secretary to give the necessary instruction,” Khir said in the interview.

The demotion took place a few days before Deepavali in 2007 and angered the Indian community.

The demolition is a key reason why Indian voters rebelled and voted the opposition in the March 8, 2008 tsunami that brought the Pakatan Rakyat into power in five states.

The MIC was accused of doing nothing to stop this and other demolitions, and paid a heavy price in the polls, losing most of the seats it contested including in Sungei Siput where Samy Vellu was defeated.

The Padang Jawa demotion was the climax of several years of unremitting temple demolition by local authorities in Perak, Johor, Negri Sembilan and Selangor, all on the grounds that these temples were illegal structures.

Khir also said he will “take action” if Vel Paari, the son of Samy Vellu, continues to claim or write that it was Khir who had demolished the temple.

“I did not do it… it was Samy Vellu who wanted it,” Khir Toyo told the newspaper.

Khir’s rebuttal is part of a war of words between Vel Paari and supporters of Subramaniam, with each faction using the Tamil newspaper under their control to throw accusations at each other to influence the 1,400 delegates to the Sept 12 MIC elections.

On Aug 6 Paari had written in the family-owned Tamil Nesan daily that Indians were angry with Samy Vellu over the demolition of the temple. He said his father was not involved and the people should be angry with Khir as it was he who was responsible for the demolition.

The MIC election is seen as a do-or-die battle by many and is generating unusual heat compared to previous elections.

This is because two camps — that of Samy Vellu and Subramaniam — are going head-on by fielding their respective candidates for all the posts up for grabs.

“With Samy Vellu departing there is unusual urgency and heat in this election because the party is at a crossroads. The veteran leader is departing and two rival teams are fighting to fill the vacuum," a former MIC vice-president said.

“That’s why it is a do-or-die battle with the winner taking all and the loser disappearing from the scene,” the MIC leader said.

Samy Vellu, who was elected unopposed in March for an 11th term as president, has indicated he would quit about a year after the Sept 12 election, if at all.

Subramaniam is fighting the final battle of his career as deputy president in a three way fight between him, incumbent Datuk G. Palanivel and former Samy Vellu-blue-eyed boy Datuk S. Sothinathan.

http://www.malaysia index.php/ malaysia/ 34962-khir- toyo-enters- mic-fray- attacks-samy- vellu

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