By Hassan Idris
PETALING JAYA: All eyes are on MIC’s central working committee (CWC) meeting tomorrow, the first after the party’s re-election on Nov 6.
Top on the watch list is former party vice-president who is also Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk S. Saravanan, who lost in his bid for the party deputy president post by just 17 votes.
Saravanan lost to Datuk SK Devamany, who is the Perak State Assembly Speaker, who had sacrificed his Cameron Highl;ands parliamentary seat to then party president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel.
Party president Datuk Seri S. Subramaniam is probably in a dilemma as how to solve the problem as the results of the re-election reflected the division in the party by 50-50, meaning both Saravanan and Devamany have equal number of supporters in the 1,450-odd delegates to the re-election.
Going by logic and convention that delegates represent the grassroots, this simply means that MIC is still very much split right in between and Subramaniam seems to be the unifying spot.
Given such background, Subramaniam’s decision tomorrow on how to deal with Devamany and Saravanan is the key to the party’s unity or remain as broken forever.
Devamany, by virtue that he is now the deputy president and by convention, needed to be brought to federal level to reflect his position and his scope of authority and responsibility.
In this sense, Subramaniam needs to find a place for him and this is not hard for the party president to do.
After all, there is still one vacant minister post for MIC if going by convention where MIC has two ministers and two deputy ministers posts.
Since Subramaniam is Health Minister and Palanivel is no longer an MIC member and had vacated his minister’s post, Devamany could be given a senatorship and made a minister.
Regardless of portfolios, there is always a vacancy for minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in-charge of Indian Affairs, if Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is generous enough.
After all, Cabinet posts are the prerogative of the Prime Minister of the day as he can cut down or increase the number of ministers and portfolios if he sees fit and is needy.
The big problem that will probably put Subramaniam in the spotlight is Saravanan’s position in the government and the party.
Subramaniam cannot ignore and abandon Saravanan or his supporters although he had lost and citing democratic process (election process) had placed him in that position will only exaggerate or deepen the and widen the split.
Given that Suramaniam needs the party to be united to stay relevant as the protector or Indian community in the ruling coalition of Barisan Nasional (BN), he has to accommodate Saravanan by appointing him to a senior party position and keeping him as what he is today in the government.
After all, Saravanan had been his strong supporter during the run-up to the re-election against Palanivel and he had also contributed a lot to the community which deeds should not just be forgotten.
In short, tommorrow’s meeting and Subramaniam’s decision may have a long bearing in uniting the party and pursuing its objectives.
A wrong decision will put the party back in its old position of being seen as irrelevant to Malaysia’s political landscape.