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Monday, May 3, 2010

'Tun Samy' strikes sweet deal with Najib

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By M Kumaran

KUALA LUMPUR: MIC president S Samy Vellu has purportedly struck a sweet deal with Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, which would see the 74-year-old politician being conferred a Tunship and appointed as an ambassador at large.

In return, Samy Vellu would step down and also sideline his deputy G Palanivel, in order for fresh faces to take over the helm before the next general election.

Putrajaya sources said the deal consisted of several “sweetneers'' - Tunship, the ambassador's post, and the extraction of the Maju Institute Educational Development (MIED) and Aimst University from the party.

The sources claimed that MIED, the party's education arm, and Aimst University have a combined worth of around RM1 billion.

Also part of the deal is that the government would solve the protracted Maika Holdings fiasco, and this is how business tycoon G Gnanalingam came into the picture.

“Najib had roped in Gnanalingam to buy the shares at RM106 million, above its value, and the 66,000 shareholders are expected to get between 80 sen and RM1.

“Samy Vellu is also a major shareholder, and should he decide to sell his stake, he could make a handsome return,” said the sources.

They said Gnanalingam is scheduled to reveal more details about the deal on Saturday.

The Maika Holdings scandal has been a sore point with the Indian community for decades, and the opposition never fails to exploit this issue during elections.

Enter Vell Paari and Sothinathan

MIC sources, who confirmed that a deal was struck, said Samy Vellu's son Vell Paari and the president's blue-eyed-boy S Sothinathan would play a big role in managing MIED and Aimst.

“Sothinathan will not be playing a major role in MIC politics after this, but he will return to his original role of managing a company.

“He has patched up with Samy Vellu since the last party election, and the two were inseparable during the recent Hulu Selangor by-election,” they said.

During last year's party election, Sothinathan irked his mentor by contesting for the number two post against Palanivel, the president's preferred choice then.

The sources said with the Tun title, Samy Vellu would also be given a bodyguard, diplomatic passport, police outrider and driver, “things which the president is fond of.”

Dr Subra for president

According to the sources, the plan now is to promote current vice-president and Human Resources Minister Dr S Subramaniam for the number two post. He would then succeed Samy Vellu.

Najib wants Samy Vellu and his “problematic legacies” out of the picture before the next general election, so that he could present a “clean and rejuvenated” MIC to the Indian community.

The sources claimed that these changes would take place over the next few months, which could even see MIC holding a fresh party election where Subramaniam would take on Palanivel.

In the interim, Palanivel would be made a senator in return for giving up the Hulu Selangor seat for MIC information chief P Kamalanathan.

The candidate fiasco had severely dented Palanivel's reputation and standing among MIC members, when he was sidelined in favour of a more junior party man.

On the surface, the former deputy minister has not complained, but he is said to be vexed over what had transpired.

After the Hulu Selangor by-election result was announced on Sunday night, Palanivel had remarked that he was prepared to take over MIC if Samy Vellu stepped down.

He was responding to Samy Vellu's comments in an exclusive interview with FMT, where the veteran politician said he was willing to hand over the reins at Palanivel's request.

However, Palanivel's response has irked the president, who is said to have embarked on a move to villify his deputy, telling other leaders that Palanivel would destroy MIC if he comes to power.

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