By Clara Chooi
Vell Paari said he was ready to be sacked for pushing the MIC to seek rebukes against Tee and Ibrahim. — File pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 27 ― MIC’s S. Vell Paari is sticking to his resolve to push the party to campaign independently of Barisan Nasional (BN) in Election 2013 should the ruling coalition refuse to censure “bigots” for spewing racist drivel against the country’s non-Malay communities.But the MIC strategy director told The Malaysian Insider that this would depend on the outcome of today’s Cabinet meeting, where he said party president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel has agreed to raise his grouses.
“I have spoken to the president and what he told me was that he will raise it in Cabinet,” Vell Paari said when contacted here yesterday.
The son of MIC’s longest serving president, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, sent shockwaves through the party last week when he penned a scathing open letter to Palanivel, demanding the latter pressure Cabinet into taking action against Muslim academic Dr Ridhuan Tee Abdullah and Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali.
Casting most of the spotlight on Tee, Vell Paari complained that the academic’s recent remarks in the media should be regarded as a serious affront to the Hindu community, who make up the majority of Indians here.
“My party president said he is also concerned with the issue and he will raise it in Cabinet. I will wait for Cabinet’s decision,” he said.
Palanivel has agreed to bring the matter before the Cabinet.But should there be no response from Cabinet or his party leadership, Vell Paari repeated his threat to urge Indians here to vote for the opposition.
“In the CWC (central working committee), I am going to put forward what I think MIC should do. If they agree with me, fine.
“But if they disagree, then I have to take on this agenda on my own. It is not about joining the opposition, though… I will never join the opposition because it would mean I am not genuine,” he said.
Vell Paari pointed out that he could create his own platform to ensure his objectives are fulfilled ― political or otherwise.
He also acknowledged that he was taking a huge risk with his remarks, but said he was ready to leave the MIC or be sacked.
“You see, before this, no one said anything. When I threatened to ask the Indians to vote the opposition, suddenly everyone is jumping.
“I do this because it is necessary… otherwise, no one ever listens,” he said.
Vell Paari said individuals like Tee and Ibrahim were clearly working against BN and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1 Malaysia philosophy.
But with no reprimand, the duo could very well wage civil war in the country, he said, particularly if they are always allowed to run riot with their remarks on racial matters.
“In politics, we cannot be silent. Silence is not golden in politics. If we want to stay silent, we might as well become librarians, not politicians,” he said.
Vell Paari also defended his chosen method of raising his grouses, saying it was not only an effective manner to resolve issues but also the preferred choice of the Indian community who are now seeking transparency.
He pointed out that he had not attacked Palanivel in the letter and had only followed protocol, adding that the president had given him freedom to speak and act when he was appointed strategy director.
Vell Paari reminded that Malaysia is multiracial, adding that if communities were not respected as equals, those who could afford it may migrate elsewhere.
“But what about those who can’t afford to leave?
“For years we have been saying, ‘do something, do something, do something’. This is not good. But the way it is going, it is like we are asking the Malays and the non-Malays to fight…. one with keris; the other, with parang.
“We all live here as equals… but if this persists, I don’t know if I am going to heaven or to hell but I definitely know that I am going from Malaysia,” he said.
MIC secretary-general Datuk S. Murugesan has confirmed that MIC’s next CWC meeting will discuss issues raised by Vell Paari in his letter to Palanivel.
Murugesan added, however, that Palanivel has yet to communicate instructions to the party on the date of the next meeting, or any plans to censure Vell Paari for publicly criticising MIC’s leadership for being cowardly when handling racial remarks made by individuals like Ridhuan Tee and Ibrahim.
Murugesan agreed that the party has internal channels where grouses could be aired but would not say if Vell Paari had acted outside his boundaries.
“He (Palanivel) has not communicated to me about the letter but I did inform him of it. We received it in our office headquarters and I’ve sent it to the president’s office.
“And yes, he has noted he is aware of the letter,” Murugesan told The Malaysian Insider when contacted here.
He noted that in the letter, Vell Paari had said he would raise his grouses in the next CWC meeting, which is usually held once or twice monthly.
“So, okay, we will discuss it in the next CWC,” the secretary-general said.
The MIC Youth lodged a police report last Wednesday over an article by Ridhuan Tee headlined “Kesabaran Umat Islam Ada Had”, which appeared in the Sinar Harian daily on Monday.
MIC Youth information chief S. Subramaniam said the article was “derogatory” and “insensitive” to Hindus as it talked about the controversial movie “Vishwaroopam”, but the writer had wrongly linked it to Hindus.
In his letter, Vell Paari had also said the party could no longer keep its lips zipped on these issues, pointing out that they have continued to crop up unchecked due to the lack of response from top leaders.
“If we continue to remain silent on such issues because we are afraid of antagonising certain powers-that-be, then we might as well close shop and convert the MIC headquarters into a banana leaf restaurant.
“We cannot hold our heads high when our tails are between our legs,” he said in his letter. – M Insider