MACC report against Palani’s aide

Several businessmen claim corrupt practices in the handing out of cooking oil packing contracts to Indian contractors.

B Nantha Kumar, FTM

Several businessmen have lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) against a senior and most trusted aide of cabinet member and MIC president G Palanivel.

The report is over alleged corrupt practices involved in the handing out of cooking oil packing contracts overseen by Palanivel in his capacity as the lead minister of Indian Affairs in the Prime Minister’s Department.

The report accused Dr S Vijendran, who until last week was the political secretary of Palanivel but has since been redesignated as private secretary to the minister, of manipulating the cooking oil packing contracts to favour one particular contractor.

“We are frustrated with Dr Vijendran’s involvement in the cooking oil packing contract which is supposed to be open for all deserving Indian entrepreneurs,” said one of the complainants who wished to be unnamed for now.

He said that the MACC should take immediate steps to look into the alleged corrupt practices as it was hampering the growth of genuine Indian entrepreneurs. The report was made yesterday despite it being a public holiday.

“If there is no action taken soon, we will hold a rally against Palanivel for still relying on Vijendran on matters involving the Indian business community,” he said.

Cooking oil packing contract

Giving a background to the cooking oil packing contract, the businessman said the federal government had recently agreed to award the contract to Indian entrepreneurs as a way to give them room to be successful in business.

The distribution of the contract was handled by Suria Cooperative Society which is chaired by Palanivel, who had then left it in the hands of Vijendran to pick the deserving Indian businessmen to service the contract.

Originally seven Indian companies had been identified for the contract but five of them were rejected for not holding a Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry (KPDNKK) licence.

And from the two qualified companies, Vijendran allegedly decided to pick only one as the other did not apparently meet the requirements set by Suria Cooperative Society.

At the same time, Vijendran also had allegedly turned away other companies who had obtained the KPDNKK licence. He is also accused of asking these new companies to become sub-contractors to one particular company.

“Why is he giving special privilege to the particular company when the contract is meant to help the Indian business community? Why is Palanivel keeping quiet over this matter?” asked the complainant. He wants the MACC to investigate this.

He also claimed that Vijendran’s action had only resulted in the sole contract winner of making hefty profits.

“By having more Indian companies on board, more people would enjoy the benefits instead of one or two connected individuals,” he said.