Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Tale of PPP’s Supra Maniam s/o Kolanda Velu And His Ultimatums.

Supra Maniam s/o Kolanda Velu, later known as K.V.S Maniam and now Datuk M. Kayveas has issued an ultimatum to Barisan Nasional, threatening to withdraw from the coalition if Barisan Nasional fails to amend the Internal Security Act. Many have applauded this move. The rest associate him with a faulty radio, which often fails to strike the right frequency and has a volume that can reach the highest level at one point, and turn mute the very next. Truth to be spoken, I too, fail to understand this Supra Maniam.

Political analysts have formed a near consensus, claiming Kayveas’ controversial antics are driven by the motive of keeping the People’s Progressive Party within sight in the political radar. They believe that without these occasional outbursts, or rather mere sparks, Kayveas and his party may face the prospect of being wiped out from Barisan Nasional. Well, maybe not literally, but their voices may soon be insignificant.

In 2007, in the eve of the People’s Progressive Party’s 54th anniversary, Kayveas was quoted as saying that his party would leave the Barisan Nasional coalition if they are not allowed to contest the number of seats they held prior to joining Barisan Nasional in 1972. This did not go down well with members of other Barisan Nasional component parties, and he was gunned down by the likes of Muhyiddin Yassin, Ali Rustam and Chua Soi Lek, amongst others. What transpired next was his change of tune, much to the dismay of even most People’s Progressive Party’s members. He claimed that it was only a request, and not a threat.

"All I did was make a request that the party be allowed to contest for seats it used to hold. It was a friendly request, short of begging. Never at any time did I issue an ultimatum to the Barisan Nasional.”- Datuk M. Kayveas as reported in the New Straits Times on 30 July 2007.

“I just said we would have to think about our future in the BN if we are not going anywhere. I don't think that is an ultimatum. Come on, we are in no position to give ultimatums to anyone."- Datuk M. Kayveas as reported in the Sun on 30 July 2007.

However, on the 30th of November 2008, Kayveas issued an ultimatum to Barisan Nasional.

PPP president M Kayveas today warned that his party will pull out of the Barisan Nasional coalition if the Internal Security Act (ISA) is not amended before the next elections.- Malaysiakini, 30 November 2008.

Kayveas’ statements appear to be constantly volatile. The merit of the case does not favor him either. He seems to be losing ground on both ends. His claim last year that the People’s Progressive Party should be allowed to contest seven parliamentary seats and twelve state seats in the 2008 General Elections simply because these were the numbers held by them before joining Barisan Nasional is far from justifiable. He conveniently ignored the situational and time-frame elements when making that claim.

At that point of time, People’s Progressive Party was a much respected party under the leadership of prominent figures such as the Seenivasagam brothers. Ipoh Municipality Council, under the People’s Progressive Party in the 1960s, was an exemplary model of local administration which was even highly regarded by Barisan Nasional leaders back then. Kayveas has certainly failed to live up to the legacy of the party’s past leaders. Yes, he may argue that it is a struggle to work under an oppressive system, and that had contributed to the downfall of People’s Progressive Party. But if that was the case, why didn’t he stand firm and make a stand when bullied by other Barisan Nasional component party leaders? In fact, what he did was change tunes to re-establish his ties with them. His flip-flops have been the cause of the public’s confidence in him to decline.

Back to his recent ultimatum to Barisan Nasional, in which he threatened to leave the coalition if the Internal Security Act is not amended by the next General Election. If the party feels that the Internal Security Act is an unjust law, they should push for an immediate amendment or repeal. The next General Election would only be in 2012/2013. Here we have a political leader, who is supposed to represent the people, suggesting that Barisan Nasional has about 4 years to consider the Act, despite acknowledging that those who had been unfairly detained would have to continue serving detention for at least as long as that, unless of course, Syed Hamid chooses to releases them.

It surprises me when people consider Kayveas a bold leader. He may be controversial, if compared with most other Barisan Nasional leaders but he has yet to prove that he is bold. If anything, he is more of a coward who often plays the safe game. For example, threatening to quit Barisan Nasional if the Internal Security Act is not amended, and at the same time, give them an unreasonable time span to consider their decision.

Abdullah Badawi has now made it clear that the Internal Security Act would not be amended, burying any ‘hopes’ left of Kayveas. Abdullah Badawi also said that the People’s Progressive Party was free to leave the coalition. This was decided at the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council Meeting on the 9th of December 2008. In an immediate reaction, T. Murugiah expressed shock over the statement made by the premier, but went on to say that “But I don't think Pak Lah meant what he said that we can leave because he's a nice man... but sometimes, what to do?”- Malaysiakini, 9th of December 2008.

How do we comprehend this? The Prime Minister has made his stand clear, but the People’s Progressive Party Youth Chairman tries to reinterpret it. Today, the Deputy President of People’s Progressive Party chaired an emergency meeting to discuss their future in their coalition following Abdullah Badawi’s statement. Many who are aligned with them were hoping for the party to leave the coalition and consolidate their position as a formidable party. The outcome of the meeting was that the party would stand by Kayveas. To be fair to them, they may not have opted for a critical decision due to Kayveas’ absence in the meeting.

Let’s watch and see what transpires when Kayveas is back from the States in a couple of weeks. Supra Maniam s/o Kolanda Velu, the party has backed you, and you now have the chance of taking the People’s Progressive Party back to the heights of its glorious heyday. The ball, I’m afraid, is now in your court.

by Argus Eye.

also published in Malaysia Today-

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