Three independents in fray for Hulu Selangor Indian vote

By Baradan Kuppusamy (Malaysian Insider)
KUALA LUMPUR, April 1 — At least three MIC mid-level leaders are preparing to stand as independents in the Hulu Selangor by-election, in a move which could spoil the chances of MIC deputy president Datuk G. Palanivel if he is selected as the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate.
Although they deny it sources close to the three said they are contesting for various reasons — out of spite for MIC president Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu, disagreement over the selection of Palanivel as candidate and in revenge for being treated “like dirt” by the MIC.
“I am not afraid. Let them sack me from the MIC for contesting,” said S. Ananthan, a delegate in the Bukit Bintang MIC division that is headed by former FT MIC chairman Datuk VKK Teagarajan.
Ananthan is a close confidant of Teagarajan but denied he was contesting in Hulu Selangor at the latter’s behest.
“Teagarajan has nothing do with my decision to contest in Hulu Selangor. I want to make a point by contesting. I am offering myself as an alternative candidate if voters are upset with both the Barisan and the Pakatan,” he told The Malaysian Insider went contacted today.
Teagarajan, who started in textiles before branching into hotels and properties, has virtually ended his career in the MIC, after failing to be nominated to contest as MP and become a deputy minister.
In recent months he has became deeply disenchanted with the MIC and was veering towards possibly joining PKR. He, however, is still undecided whether to sign up with the opposition party.
Political sources said he might have influenced Ananthan, his confidant, to contest and break the Indian vote, as a favour to PKR and its adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim before ditching the MIC.
Indians make up 19 per cent of the 73,000 voters in Hulu Selangor.
Ananthan, a former journalist, is a veteran MIC member and well known in its circles across the country.
Another MIC leader likely to be an independent contestant in Hulu Selangor is V. Subramaniam, who stood for the MIC vice-president’s post in the party elections in October and lost.
He is young, energetic and not one to toe the Samy-line and is therefore outspoken and disliked.
He was in Datuk S. Subramaniam’s line-up but lost in the contest.
When contacted today Subramaniam, the former Kelana Jaya MIC Division deputy chairman, said he was keen to contest as an independent to offer voters an alternative.
He is believed to be close to Klang businessman Omms Thiagarajan who is an associate of Datuk S. Subramanian, the former MIC deputy president.
“I admit I am close to Omms. And if Omms asks me to contest I will stand,” he said went contacted today. “I am keeping an open mind.”
It is unclear where Omms stands politically because he was patron and supporter of the Malaysian Makkal Sakthi Party of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and at the same time he also met Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and held exploratory discussions.
A third spoiler for Palanivel is likely to be V. S. Chandran, who in 2006 sported a long beard for six months and shaved it off only after Palanivel won the MIC deputy presidency, in a mark of respect and honour.
Recently however he has turned against Palanivel, blaming him of not doing enough for Indians in Hulu Selangor.
Chandran, the chairman of MIC Bandar Utama in Batang Kali, was a former deputy chairman of the Hulu Selangor MIC division for six years and was a staunch loyalist of Palanivel.
He could not be reached for comment.