MIC expels Samy Vellu’s challenger

By Baradan Kuppusamy, The Malaysian Insider

The MIC has summarily expelled former vice-president Datuk M. Muthupalaniappan, who was planning to challenge Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu for the party presidency.

The expulsion means Samy Vellu, who has been leading the party since 1979, will effectively be re-elected MIC president for an 11th term in March.

However, the expulsion ironically clears the way for Muthupalaniappan to join PKR and take thousands of his MIC supporters into the opposition party at a time when the MIC can ill-afford it.

His supporters have been pushing him to cross over ever since the March 8 general election but Muthupalaniappan had resisted the move, telling his supporters the MIC can "rebrand itself."

He refused to comment on his plans but said he was deeply saddened by the summary expulsion.

"I am shocked and saddened," Muthupalaniappan told The Malaysian Insider when contacted today. "This is a farce, a great injustice to the MIC and the Indian community.

"This script (my expulsion) was written by Samy Vellu and executed by Vadiveloo (MIC disciplinary committee chairman Tan Sri G. Vadiveloo). He wanted me removed and I was removed," Muthupalaniappan said.

"I am consulting my lawyers now and will issue a detailed statement later," he said.

A letter signed by Vadiveloo and dated Jan 21 brought the bad news to Muthupalaniappan, a veteran MIC man who had always said "I will live or die with the MIC."

Samy Vellu's term as president expires on May 25 and the party has to issue notices for an election three months before that.

Muthupalaniappan was charged with tarnishing the party's image in several press statements that allegedly disparaged Samy Vellu, damaged the party and brought disrepute.

The disciplinary committee met on Jan 19 and rejected all objections by Muthupalaniappan, a veteran MIC leader having been Negri Sembilan MIC chief since 1985 and also vice-president, and proceeded to question him on his press statements.

He had asked for a three-day extension to bring 15 witnesses, urged Vadiveloo, who is accused of being an interested party, to recuse himself and admit two of his lawyers to act for him during the hearing.

His request was rejected and the inquiry ended in about 30 minutes.

Most MIC insiders had expected Muthupalaniappan to be suspended for a month or two until the presidential election and Samy Vellu safely in the president's seat but not an outright expulsion.

He has a right of appeal and Muthupalaniappan said today he will appeal but insiders said he is likely instead to join PKR and take thousands of MIC members into the opposition.

"He is wildly popular and his expulsion does a great deal of damage to the MIC and the Indian community," said K.P. Samy, a Klang MIC leader who is close to former deputy president Datuk S. Subramaniam.

Muthupalaniappan has two weeks to appeal the expulsion but he is unlikely to be reinstated anytime soon, party officials said, citing recent statements by him as reasons.

"He singled out Samy Vellu in his attacks and the president has decided not to forgive him," the insiders said.

Ironically Muthupalaniappan was instrumental in the rise of Samy Vellu over his rival Subramaniam in the 1980s and was a staunch Samy Vellu man, acquiescing in the expulsion of MIC members in the early years.