This is exclusive interview by Malaysiakini with Samy Vellu’s wife Indrani. Very rare to get her interview on online or non-Tamil media. Let’s see what she says about the issues affecting her family now:
Since her husband’s defeat in the last general election, Indrani Samy Vellu has kept a low profile. But now, she feels compelled to voice her thoughts in the wake of the mounting criticisms against her husband of 49 years.
What hurt her most were the scathing remarks by former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, whom she considers to be almost like family. [lesson: there's no permanent friends in politics]
In an exclusive interview with Malaysiakini yesterday, Indrani, 69, said it was not proper for Mahathir to state, among others, that in Japan, defeated leaders would have committed ‘harakiri’ (killed themselves).
“He did not say it directly… but what if he (Samy Vellu) had taken it seriously. It may not affect my husband but such statements do leave an impact on our family,” she said.
Indrani also disagreed with Mahathir and others describing her husband as a liability for Barisan Nasional.
“He (Samy Vellu) lost his parliamentary seat (in Sungai Siput) once (in the last general election) because of certain events, including some who worked towards ensuring his defeat.
“But he was not the only BN leader who lost… so why single him out?” she asked. [biasalah, need a scapegoat.]
Indrani, who repeatedly stressed that Mahathir is a great leader whom she and her husband admired, called on the former premier and other BN leaders to be more judicious in their criticism.
Why didn’t they say something sooner?
“He (Samy Vellu) is not saying that he will not step down as MIC president. He will step down when the time is right.
“Other coalition party members also suffered major losses, so it is not acceptable to say that BN’s failure is because of Samy Vellu alone,” she said during interview which was conducted in Tamil.
“The BN leaders are now saying that he has not done anything for the community but nobody seems to remember the years he sacrificed to bring upliftment to the community,” she said. [maybe too many years already, so cannot focus on the "many" achievements and "upliftments"!]
“Samy Vellu was not the only minister in the cabinet, there were other ministers and there was the prime minister… if they are saying now that he failed the community, why didn’t they say something sooner or reprimand him for lagging? [ something about outliving its purpose comes to mind]
“He did all he can to help the people… but sometimes you have to help yourself too, he can’t be knocking on everyone’s door to give aid. All we can do is teach them how to fish and feed themselves, we cannot be spoon feeding them,” she added. [true indeed. but when others get spoon-fed, one tends to ask "why not me?"]
The mother of two also stressed that her husband was a man of his own making, who worked very hard to get to where he is today.
On the claim that Samy Vellu was grooming their son Vell Paari to enter politics, Indrani said that was up to her husband.
Breaking into laughter, she quipped that Samy Vellu, whom she described as being a temperamental person, never even gave her a single award.
“When I asked to be recommended for an honorary title, he asked me why do I need one and where do I plan to stick it (the badge),” she said.
“But then, is it wrong for Vell Paari to come into politics? The other politicians also groom their children to be leaders one day. [Yes of course. every one have the right to groom their children, especially to follow the footsteps]
“My husband knows that Vell Paari has the capability and my son does contribute to society without any publicity,” she added.
Vell Paari is not a cruel person
Meanwhile, Indrani was also asked about her son being implicated in the death of drama actress K Sujatha.
“Frankly speaking I hardly knew her. But to say my son had forced the poison down her throat is ridiculous,” she said, adding that Vell Paari was incapable of such cruelty.
She recalled how her son had even balked at the idea of slaughtering a chicken to cook a meal at home, and this was one of the reasons why he opted to pursue architecture instead of medicine. [this is quite subjective and possibly irrelevant. desperate people can do desperate things. Anyway, inquest already ruled it was suicide, and any personal relationship between employer and employee may have not contributed to the suicide.]
“Her (Sujatha’s) own family members had testified that she committed suicide, if that was not the truth wouldn’t they fight for justice,” she asked.
Indrani also lashed out at PKR MP S Manikavasagam who had pursued the matter, saying that it was a political ploy to attack the father by using the son as a scapegoat.
She also took a Tamil daily to task for running reports on the Sujatha case by splashing photographs of the deceased.
“It was wrong of them to disrespect the girl in that way. They could have run the stories without using her photos, but they chose to print all sorts of photos in order to attract readers,” she said. [morally not good, but newspaper will claim need to sell the paper la..wonder why the family never sue the papers]
Ex-MIED CEO gets a lashing
Indrani also defended her husband against the accusations by P Chithirakala Vasu, the former chief executive officer of MIC’s education arm MIED.
Last week, Chithirakala said that Samy Vellu will leave behind an ‘empty shell‘ for his chosen successor G Palanivel.
Commenting on this, Indrani sarcastically said that while she lauded Chithirakala’s concern for Palanivel’s future, the former MIED CEO should not forget that she was given the ‘Thirupathi Undiyal’ by her husband.
Thirupathi is a holy shrine in India, where the ‘undiyal’ or donation box is known for raking in millions of dollars.
“He had given her the utmost respect and treated her like a daughter… But she now makes all these baseless allegations against him, the man who sponsored her education and gave her everything that she has today,” she said.
According to Indrani, Chithirakala left MIED some three years ago after expressing unhappiness with Samy Vellu.
“Then she asked for her job back and despite my disapproval, he forgave her saying that she was a young girl who did not know better, and took her back.
“But look at how ungrateful she is, and now she makes all sorts of accusations against my husband,” she added.
Hmm…what can I say. Once in politics, have to brace for back-stabbing, scandals, political manoeuvring, gossips, challenging decision-making, ethics, morality. Never an easy job.