Embattled MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, whose wish to return to the Cabinet was rejected by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, is playing his final gambit by threatening to withdraw the sole MIC minister.
The Malaysian Insider understands Samy Vellu has little support except from party vice-president S. Sothinathan in this gambit which was sparked after Najib rejected all hints last week to make Samy Vellu a senator and put him back into the Cabinet as works minister.
Samy Vellu complained to his supporters that if Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon could be made a senator and minister, he should have been accorded the same privilege.
Samy Vellu is also unhappy that Selangor Gerakan chief A. Kohilan Pillay has been made a deputy foreign minister, a high-profile post for an Indian.
He feels it should have been given to one of his nominees.
After failing to get himself re-appointed, Samy Vellu tried to propose two additional deputy ministers posts for Sothinathan and Senator Loga Chitrakalla, according to MIC sources.
The sources said a close aide of Samy Vellu had leaked the story that Samy Vellu was considering pulling out Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam and deputy ministers Datuk S.K. Devamany and Datuk M. Saravanan, to put pressure on Najib to give additional positions in the Cabinet.
The leaked story is said to be timed for the MIC central working committee meeting on Thursday where Samy Vellu has two choices — to work up his loyalists into making a “do or die” stand over the issue or deny the leaked stories and walk away from the issue.
MIC leaders are divided on whether he will carry out the threat.
“Except for Sothinathan, Samy Vellu is alone in this gambit,” said a senior MIC leader. “He has been asked to wrap up and hand over power in the party by mid-year and that has upset him. He wants to put his man as deputy and serve his three-year term as president before handing over.”
"Najib has told him not a day longer than necessary," the sources said. "This is the real spark for the rebellion against Najib."
Samy Vellu, who seriously believes he can make a comeback, was elected president for an 11th term last month and wants to complete the three-year term before handing over to a yet unnamed successor.
The Malaysian Insider understands from aides that the party's government representatives were shocked and perplexed by the threat.
Samy Vellu’s plan to pull the ministers out of the Cabinet but keep the MIC in the Barisan Nasional coalition, party insiders said, is a scheme hatched out of emotional disappointment with the Cabinet outcome.
“What is the rationale for pulling out of the Cabinet but remaining in the Barisan? If he pulls out of the Cabinet, then MIC must also pull out of the various state executive councils in the country,” the MIC leader said.
Former MIC vice-president Datuk M. Muthupalaniappan, when contacted by The Malaysian Insider, said he takes the threat seriously.
“It is not advisable to pull out of the Cabinet because we will be rendered blind on how the government is thinking and the decisions that are being made,” he said.
“It will be a great disadvantage to the Indian community,” he said.
Another former MIC leader said on condition of anonymity that there would be stiff resistance to the idea at Thursday’s CWC meeting.
“This is one matter Samy Vellu cannot carry through,” he said. “There is too much fear and self interest involved. They will not allow Samy Vellu to carry out this threat.”
But other MIC leaders said a desperate Samy Vellu is capable of even pulling out of the BN and joining the Pakatan Rakyat.