‘I will ink a contract with the voters’

Should he be nominated as a candidate, MIC’s S Vell Paari is offering a corporate twist to politics, calling it a self-imposed KPI. 

RK Anand, Free Malaysia Today

His father ruled MIC with an iron fist for three decades. Despite the numerous controversies during his tenure, he was still considered a master politician by both allies and adversaries alike. The former works minister appeared invincible.

But four years ago, on his birthday, S Samy Vellu became one of the casualties in the political tsunami that swept across the peninsular.

Now, his only son, Vell Paari, is being touted as a possible candidate to wrest back his father’s former fortress, the Sungai Siput parliamentary seat in Perak.

Like his father, the 50-year-old businessman and MIC central working committee member has had his fair share of bad press. Among others, he was accused of mismanaging the party’s investment arm Maika Holdings.

But the most damning allegation, which Vell Paari himself admitted continues to haunt him, was being implicated in the death of his former staff, K Sujatha.

However, an inquest later absolved him of any wrongdoing but did little to salve the damage inflicted on his reputation.

Speaking to FMT on the possibility of being named as a candidate, Vell Paari said politics in Malaysia had evolved and politicians must discard their antiquated mindset and learn to adapt.

“Malaysians have become more aggressive and I don’t mean that in the violent sense. There is greater political aggression now in terms of a more knowledgable and sophisticated electorate who are aware of their rights.

“A poignant example would be the YouTube video which vent viral depicting a lorry driver lashing out at a policeman for hurling obscenities at him.

“This would not have happened in the past, but now even a lorry driver knows his rights as a citizen and that the policeman had crossed the line,” he added.

Corporate twist to politics

In view of this, Vell Paari is offering voters, what he termed, as a corporate twist to politics.

“If I am nominated as the candidate, I would sign a legally binding contract with the voters of Sungai Siput. Consider this a self-imposed KPI (Key Performance Index),” he revealed.

Explaining, Vell Paari said the contract would stipulate that if he failed to achieve 50% of his election pledges within two and a half years of being elected, the voters could demand his resignation.

“The crux of it is that a referrendum would be held to appraise my performance and if my employer vis-a-vis the voters feel that my work has not been up to par. I would resign. There would be no loopholes or words in fine print and that is my undertaking,” he added.

On the same note, Vell Paari stressed that he was not losing sleep over the candidacy issue, pointing out that the final decision was with MIC president G Palanivel.

“I did not ask for this. After my father stepped down (as MIC president), I decided to concentrate on my business in Australia. But I was told to come back home and become more involved in party matters by the new leadership.

“Many promises were made but being someone who was born in a political household and with politics running in my veins, I took these promises with a pinch of salt.

“But let me make one thing clear. I am not going to beg or bend over backwards for a seat. I am more interested in serving the people and I could do this with or without a position,” he added.

‘Who doesn’t have baggage?’

As for the talk that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak had reservations about naming him as the candidate because of his political baggage, Vell Paari conceded that he too had heard this from the grapevine.

“Who doesn’t have political baggage? Even the prime minister has been accused of numerous things… and what about the opposition leader (Anwar Ibrahim), he too has been accused of this and that.

“But what is most important is that an inquest cleared me (in Sujatha’s case) and as for Maika Holdings, I have explained the issue numerous times,” he said.

Vell Paari was also confident that Sungai Siput, which fell to Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) leader Dr Michael Jeyakumar, was a winnable seat for Barisan Nasional.