|Ex-MIC veep joins Anwar’s PKR|
Former MIC vice-president SS Subramaniam has today joined PKR, making him the most senior MIC leader to defect to the opposition.
At a function held in Petaling Jaya City Council this afternoon, the 72-year-old politician also announced that 12 MIC branches in Petaling Jaya would fold and join PKR en masse.
He claimed that the closing down of these branches would result in a mass defection of about 2,500 MIC members to PKR.
“I have been supporting PKR and its de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim’s policies for a long time, but it’s only now that I have the guts to say that I am joining the party,” he told a cheering crowd of about 350.
“I know that my defection will come under heavy fire from (MIC president S) Samy Vellu, but I think all current BN policies are going backward 20 years and they only benefit certain people.
“What I want is for the people to move forward to further development and I believe PKR will lead me to that dream,” said Subramaniam, who is also MIC Taman Perangsang branch chairperson.
He said he would dissolved his branch once he resigns as MIC member next week.
Samy Vellu causes divisions among Indians
Subramaniam (seated, second from right) has once served as MIC vice-president and is former Bukit Raja assemblyperson and a one-term parliamentarian for Segamat, Johor.
He is also former parliamentary secretary for the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
His defection to PKR came exactly a week after former health minister and prominent MCA leader Chua Jui Meng threw his lot with the opposition party.
Subramaniam’s announcement to defect was warmly welcomed by Anwar and other top PKR leaders.
Subramaniam’s brother, 59-year-old Dr SS Streram, who is a MIC branch leader in Seri Sentosa, will also be joining PKR.
Earlier at the function, MIC Pekan Meru branch leader AR Palaya told the crowd that he too was dissolving his branch.
Besides Taman Perangsang and Seri Sentosa, the other MIC branches that are expected to defect are Section 14 Utara, Taman Medan, Kampung Pinang Tunggal, Kampung Perangsana, Kampung Baiduri, Taman Medan Baru, Petaling Baru, PJS4, Jalan Templer and Impian Baiduri.
In his speech, Subramaniam took the opportunity to lash out against his former boss for causing divisions among Indian Malaysians.
“Samy Vellu has caused so much damage to the Indian community. When he first became the party leader, he used to ask, ‘What race is this, what race is that’? If that person belonged to the same race as him, only then he would lend a hand,” said Subramaniam.
However, he is confident that multiracial parties such as PKR will “fight for the rights of all races”.
Anwar: I’ve been receiving good news lately
Speaking to reporters later, Subramaniam said one of the reasons which prompted him to defect was the government’s flip-flop policy on the teaching Mathematics and Science in English (PPSMI).
“The change in the education system (PPSMI) is a step backward, and there is no point in keeping quiet about it. That is why I figured I need to do something good for the people.”
Subramaniam added that he does not expect any high position in PKR as he said he was joining the party for the “betterment of the country”.
“As you grow older, I figured, let’s do something to change the world. You don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow,” he said.
Earlier, PKR supremo Anwar described the defection of Subramaniam and other MIC leaders as a major boost for the party from the Indian Malaysian community.
“I’ve been receiving good news since last week. First, Jui Meng joined us and the MCA ship is already sinking because of it.
“Now together as one big Malaysian family, we should fight for the rights of every race in this country,” he said.
Confusion over three Subras
Meanwhile Subramaniam’s defection today has caused some ‘trouble’ for the other S Subramaniam – the former deputy president who is challenging incumbent G Palanivel in the coming party polls.
His aides informed Malaysiakini that this Subramaniam – Samy Vellu’s arch rival – has been getting phone calls from his supporters to inquire about his sudden decision to ‘defect’.
At the same time, news from Samy Vellu’s camp indicated that they were happy – albeit wrongly – that their boss’ nemesis had finally gone, leaving the path clear for Palanivel to retain his post. Significantly Palanivel won the post in the last party polls by defeating this Subramaniam.
“My boss is still with MIC and he will continue to fight to reform the party,” said Subramaniam-loyalist KP Samy.
For the record, there is another S Subramaniam in MIC – a medical doctor who is the party secretary-general and the sole representative in the cabinet.
He is also the present MP for Segamat, a post held by the other two too in the past.
Party sources are also not too concerned about the defected Subramaniam, calling him a “retired politician”.