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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Samy Vellu: I love Dr Mahathir

By Regina Lee and Evangeline Majawat

PUTRAJAYA: MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu seems to want to bury the hatchet with former prime minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad.

"I am not saying anything any more. I want to only say that he's a great leader. I love him and I respect him," he said at the Hari Raya open house at Sri Perdana here on Sunday.

Samy Vellu said he had met Dr Mahathir during a Hari Raya reception at Istana Negara that morning and shook hands with him.

Brushing aside the acrimonious exchanges between the two over the past two weeks, Samy Vellu said he would take a scolding from Dr Mahathir seriously.

"If someone like a big brother or a father scolds you, just take it and keep quiet. That is the family concept." He also said that he had met Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to discuss when he would be stepping down as president of the MIC, a post he has held for 28 years.

He refused to reveal details, saying "only the prime minister and I know when".

In the run-up to the party elections two weeks ago, Dr Mahathir was reported as saying in a vernacular newspaper that Samy Vellu should quit as party chief. He later said that Samy Vellu had become a liability to the Barisan Nasional.

Samy Vellu then lashed back, saying the former premier had no business interfering in the MIC.

A delegate at the party annual general assembly suggested that a garland of slippers be hung around Dr Mahathir's portrait for butting in and "not doing anything for the Indian community".

The delegate has since been suspended from the MIC.

Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir appeared to have ended the row by saying an apology from Samy Vellu was not necessary.

"We shook hands. No, he did not apologise. I think it's not necessary," he said at the same function on Sunday.

Dr Mahathir described the spat as "nothing".

--New Straits Times


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