Samy Vellu and the Blue Book
October 12, what an irony. MIC president S Samy Vellu chose that day to make the accusation of the government failing the Indians. That was the day he became party president on the demise of the former president, the late Tan Sri V Manickavasagam.
What has he been doing for the last 26 years? Probably he finally just woke up from his dream of being president.
The late Tan Sri had a vision for the Indians. He organised the First Indian Economic Seminar and as a result the 'Blue Book' came about. It was a development plan for the economic growth of the Indian community. The Blue Book was a result of top Indian business, political and education leaders sitting down together and coming out with a plan for the future.
Most MIC leaders have forgotten about the Blue Book. Maika Holdings and MIED (Maju Institute of Education and Development) and others are a direct result of the Blue Book.
But the late president did not launch Maika or MIED then because he knew the community did not have the capacity to invest. He was waiting a better time when the Indians would be ready to invest without having to borrow and fall into debt.
Look at where Maika is today. Most of the ordinary Indians who invested in it have lost their money. Ownership of the shares lies in the hands of a few.
Let us take a look how Samy Vellu has failed the community over the past 26 years. Land adjacent to the present MIC headquarters was bought for a new building and extension of the present headquarters. Till today nothing has happened.
There has been talk of a new party headquarters for the last 20 years. What has happened to that piece of land next to the MIC headquarters?
Instead we have MIC leaders in one particular state getting pieces of land reserved for re-located Tamil schools or displaced Indian plantation communities. There is even talk of about five acres of land reserved for a Tamil school being used for party purposes.
The MIC which Samy Vellu inherited had been doing social work and there was a great difference then. Bureaus existed to deal with issues like student intakes, citizenship and employment to name a few.
The education bureau used to collect information on all students rejected by government universities. People like the late K Pathmanaban used to lead MIC delegations to visit every vice-chancellor to give more places to Indian students who had just missed the cut-off point. In fact, the MCA used to be jealous of the MIC in having this special privilege.
What happened to all of this? In his haste to make his hold on the party stronger, all such services were slowly ignored until one day, a former party executive secretary went to the extent of saying the "citizenship issue is a dead issue" although we still have Indians with citizenship issues.
We had one of the best social affairs bureaus then. We could have got better but the president's political survival was more important. If we had continued, we would be doing better than Michael Chong of MCA. In fact, one former vice-president proposed the computerisation of all party members way back in the early 1980s.
Why is the president now again in a 'fighting spirit' over the Indian share equity capital? The party elections next June could be the reason. He might face the biggest challenge of his life. Maybe the deputy president is going to challenge him?
And maybe the delegates want a change to. To improve the welfare of the community, you do not have to roar like a lion but have a vision. Does the MIC under Samy have a mission and a vision? The Blue Book had one, but it is now buried somewhere and lost.
It is sad that the man who knows the works of Dale Carnegie well does not have a vison or mission after 26 years as a leader.