Malaysian Indian who wanted shoe garland for Mahathir punished


Kuala Lumpur : A delegate at the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) meet who suggested that a “shoe garland” be placed around former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad’s photo has been suspended from the party.

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Party chief S. Samy Vellu, who had himself criticised Mahathir for ‘interfering’ in MIC’s affairs, took the step Tuesday after the delegate’s observation was condemned by Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein.

At the party’s 63rd general assembly Sunday, Vellu had criticised Mahathir for praising S. Subramanyam, who had challenged Vellu by contesting for the party’s vice presidentship.

Some participants took the cue and one of them, who has not been named, demanded that a “shoe garland” be placed around Mahathir’s photo to register MIC’s protest.

Mahathir had been quoted by Tamil language daily newspaper Makkal Osai as saying that Vellu had done nothing for the Indian community and that he had “stayed too long”.

Vellu has been leading the MIC since 1979.

Vellu first criticised the former premier for interfering in internal party matters, but said that he was against the garland suggestion and would take disciplinary action.

Hussein said even if MIC members were unhappy with the former prime minister’s statement for “so-called interference” in the party’s affairs, they need not go to such an extent, Star Online reported.

“I view this suggestion as extreme and disrespectful. We must never forget our values and culture of respecting others. If we want others to respect us, then we must accord respect to others.

“We must lead by example. MIC members must show that they respect others and respect leaders, and are individuals who value culture and tradition,” he said in a statement here Monday.

MIC, which speaks for Malaysia’s nearly two million strong Indian community, had held its election during the assembly that generated much heat.

The Star newspaper had described the gathering as straight out of a Tamil movie with all the heat and emotions.