Pala to create Indian millionaires

By Asrul Hani Abdul Sani, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 23 – Senator Datuk G. Palanivel is set to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor when he today offered to create millionaires in the Indian community.

Palanivel (picture) took over the MIC leadership after Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu stepped down and ended his 31 years reign as party president.

Samy Vellu’s tenure as president was marred with allegations of embezzlement and mismanagements of party linked companies including venture group, Maika holdings.

The group was the brainchild of Samy Vellu and was set up by the party’s investment arm in 1983 to shore up the corporate equity of the Indian community.

Many from the Indian community began investing in the company with the promise of wealth but were left broken and empty-handed after waiting for more than 30 years.

Instead Maika’s debts had ballooned from about RM19 million in the late 1990s to RM63 million because of non-payment of interest, default charges and penalties.

Today, Palanivel said that he wanted to unite all Indian small land owners and create a multi-million conglomerate.

He explained that the new conglomerate will help empower the community in the country’s economy.

“My plan is very big for the Indian small holders. I want them to form their own cooperative and have their own mills. In palm oil, the money is in the mills and not the plantations. Mills make a lot of money and it is sad thing that the Indian community does not have any mills except for land finance they have one mill,” he said during a press conference.

He added that he plans to bring the Indian community to the mainstream of developments.

“So my aim is to take the Indian small land holders and agriculturalists to the next level and turn them into millionaires.  See if I can do that then the economic multiplier effect will take place. The empowerment process will begin. There will be an economic gain because the Indian small holder when we get enough funds for him and encourage him to develop his plantation.

“He is actually working for the nation because the price of palm oil, rubber and cocoa is very high. So I want now is for Indian small holders to report to the ministry  because I have got a special officer dealing with this issue on land and what type of budget they need then can only I put in a working paper and ask for the budget. So I am trying to bring the Indian small holders to mainstream development. These small holders need a development programme for them. They need roads and infrastructure,” he said.

Statistics released recently showded that more 50 per cent of Indian community work as plantation workers or semi-skilled labourers.

In August this year, the Human Resources Ministry revealed that the National Employment Return study of 2009 found that 34 per cent of the country’s workforce earned less than RM700 a month which was below the poverty line of RM720.

The study also found that a further 37% earned between RM700 to RM1, 500.