Datuk Seri G. Palanivel man behind Malaysian Indian transformation

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By P Gunaseelan

Ever since MIC president G Palanivel took over the presidency of MIC, lots of questions have been raised within and outside the party whether he will be able to run the party successfully.

In fact, he took over the presidency at a critical time and he was put to an acid test immediately. Everyone within the party felt that a leader needs Tamil oratory skills to survive in MIC and Palanivel was put to his first test in the MIC general assembly.

To the amusement of the attendees, including Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, Palanivel delivered his maiden speech in Tamil to the great applause of the more than 5,000 MIC chairmen and leaders present.

Everyone was stunned. This was the first time in history of the party that all branch chairmen were allowed to attend the assembly and they were provided a stay in 5-star hotels in Putrajaya.

He also amazed all the MIC division heads by providing them funds to run their respective divisions.

Palanivel didn’t stop here. During the AGM, he put forward a suggestion to Najib of his intention to form a cooperative to assist the small and medium Indian businessmen and small traders. The prime minister sanctioned his request and this led to the formation of Suria Cooperative Society. Palanivel passed the first test with flying colours.

MIC for everyone
Palanivel didn’t stop here as well. He opened the doors of MIC to everyone and accepted all those who were sacked into the party with the same positions they held during their time of sacking.

He also embraced former deputy president S Subramaniam and his supporters with open arms within 30 days of his appointment as the MIC president for the sake of

MIC and for the unity of the Malaysian Indians.

Palanivel does not believe in politicking and does not bother what people say about him. He spends his time transforming MIC not only into a united and an influential political party but also into an organisation which takes care of the social, economic, education, and welfare needs of the Malaysian Indians.

He has quietly given MIC a facelift. Democracy in MIC has taken a new step where branch chairmen and members of MIC are given a free hand to provide constructive criticism in the party.

Another good thing about him is that he doesn’t take a big crowd with him wherever he goes. He believes in simplicity.

The birth of Suria Coop
Najib sanctioned the RM8 million for Suria Cooperative Society. Palanivel’s maiden project was to assist and modernise the business of the Indians who are involved in motor workshop trade.
Through “Tukar” programme, he has assisted Indians to upgrade their business from operating as petty traders to owners of minimarkets. It is an achievement that they are earning 42% more than their previous income.
Palanivel always encourages Indians to start small business and he feels the thought of doing business must be instilled among Indians.
He always motivate the local Indians by pointing out that when foreigners can come here and do business and live comfortably, the local Indians too can do the same. He is always willing to assist the Indians who come forward to do small business.
His heart and soul is with the public. He always has a soft spot for the poor and needy and thus once he became the MIC president, he opened the MIC service centre to serve the Indians every Sunday.
Besides this, he also handles everyday numerous cases like medical aid, citizenship, education, employment issue without much publicity.

Special attention
He gives special attention to the development and the progress of Tamil schools. He has successfully spoken to the prime minister and as a result, the government has allocated RM10 million to transform the Tamil schools.
Quietly he has obtained lands for Tamil schools and a lot of Tamil schools will be given a facelift soon. He has also achieved that no one has achieved to date – he has spoken to the prime minister and has ensured that the upliftment of Tamil schools must be given to Indian contractors.
He was also instrumental in the formation of a special division to look into long- and short-term issues and development of Tamil schools. This is the first time in history such a division has been being created.
His future vision is to ensure that a separate division be created for Tamil schools and Indian officers are appointed to various sections in this division.
He has plans to equip all Tamil schools with IT facilities where the education departments can have direct contact with the schools and any problems rectified immediately.
Matriculation was only reserved for Malay students but now the government has allocated some 1,539 seats to Indians. About 500 Indian students were unable to accept the offer as they have been offered a place in local and foreign universities.
There were moves to provide the vacant slots to fellow Indian students. It was Palanivel who put forward the suggestion that more students need to be admitted in the matriculation courses.
He put forward the request during his first MIC AGM to Najib and the latter has assured that 1,500 places would be allocated to Indian students.
There may be some confusion in the admission but this can be rectified in future.

Palani’s leadership
Every leader has his own style. MIC and the Indians are undergoing a great transformation process under Palanivel’s leadership.
It is hardly one year since his appointment as a full minister and he has already quietly succeeded in initiating many programmes what would have taken five years to achieve.

Transformation and changes won’t take place immediately. We have to give him time and he will definitely bring the Indian community to an era of modernisation and transformation.

Palanivel enjoys the support of the Indian community and all programmes initiated by him draw a big crowd.
His first event since taking over as the MIC president was a cultural function at the Mines Convention Centre, which attracted a crowd of 40,000 Indians.

This was the beginning of Indians supporting the leadership of Palanivel. Later, his Deepavali open house function in Batu Caves drew a crowd of 30,000 and the Ponggal function at Kapar drew more than 30,000.

This all goes to prove that MIC and Palanivel’s leadership is much appreciated. – FMT