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For all the flak, misgivings, rhetoric and allegations made out against him, S Samy Vellu is a far better leader than Najib Tun Razak.
In terms of leadership and leadership qualities, he is light years ahead of Najib.
Samy Vellu was only a minister in the cabinet yet he had so much to show and be proud of.
Samy Vellu was first appointed to the Malaysian cabinet in 1979, as Housing Minister, then Works Minister until 1989. Then from 1989 to 1995 he was Energy, Telecommunications and Works Minister. In 1995 he returned to the Works Ministry, where he remained until he lost his parliamentary seat in the 2008 general election.
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His achievements included building the North-South Expressway, the Penang Bridge, and many privatised highways. Unknown to many, he was the man who initiated the idea of Malaysia having a satellite. And to his credit during his tenure at the Works Ministry, it was rated the most efficient ministry in the government.
Against this, what has Najib got to show as Prime Minister; Defence Minister; Youth, Sports and Culture Minister; and Menteri Besar of Pahang – positions he held before assuming the nation’s top post?
Najib was moved from ministry to ministry, achieving nothing significant.
He became Prime Minister by default, a position most Malaysians now feel he does not deserve.
Samy Vellu may have had a lot of accusations hurled at him for all sorts of things and all of them might have been right and true, but cumulatively they don’t not even cast a shade on what is being alleged against Najib.
Neither the Altantuya Shariibuu case, nor the litany of other scandals has been put to rest and Najib has hidden under the protection of his office and refused to budge.
The truth is Samy Vellu never stood for anyone who contradicted his directives, and that was so apparent during his tenure.
Samy Vellu even challenged menteris besar who locked horns with him. He once told the press: “Menteris Besar come and Menteris Besar go and I can’t be listening to each one of them.”
This, he said, in reference to one of the most powerful menteri besar at the time who was also a vice-president of Umno.
But Najib, even in the face of adversity from his own deputy, can’t seem to confront the man.
Muhyddin Yassin has not once but many times issued statements contradicting Najib. But at each turn, Najib made excuses for him.
Najib does not even stand up to former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad. He seems to have fallen slave to that man.
Najib denied his Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaludin a place in government in favour of the person the latter defeated – Mahathir’s son Mukhriz.
The Mukhriz equation alone shows to what great extent Mahathir holds sway over Najib.
Mahathir can only keep a grip on the prime minister if he has something he can hold on to. And in this case, the belief is that it is the Altantuya case.
Samy Vellu strategy?
How convenient for Mahathir, how uncomfortable for Najib, and how opportunistic for Muhyiddin, who is playing his cards rather quietly on different fronts and very, very carefully as he has to reckon with Mahathir, too.
What a shame, indeed, for a “leader” to “kow-tow” so low.
Samy Vellu, if he had the position, would have silenced Mahathir by now. He has the capability and the daring.
Record showed that Samy Vellu never gave a damn. If it was his portfolio, then it was his and no one monkeyed with him.
In which case, is Muhyiddin applying a Samy Vellu strategy in taking on Najib?
If you recall, Samy Vellu was one of the five leaders who dared defy the former MIC president, VT Sambanthan, and this was one of the major contributing factors that led to V Manickavasagam assuming the presidency of the party.