photo shows Oms' Thiagarajan and S Subramaniam
KUALA LUMPUR: If the plan hatched by a group of Indian opposition leaders becomes a reality, then one of the largest Indian-based cooperatives in the country, NESA Cooperative Society Bhd, will be taken over by PKR.
The aim is to convert Nesa into the economic vehicle for PKR’s Indian members, with the support of the Selangor state government.
NESA has more than 40,000 members with some 20,000 of them considered to be active, with more than RM500 as their share capital.
The cooperative was formed by former MIC president S Manickavasagam in the 70s as one of MIC’s self-initiated economic programmes for its members. Upon his death, the Nesa top post went to S Subramanim, the former MIC number two.
Since Subramaniam’s current health condition is not permitting him to play an active role in NESA, some of the senior directors led by its current secretary and chief executive officer (CEO) R Rajannan, are said to be in support of ‘Oms’ Thiagarajan taking over the leadership.
Thiagarajan is a prominent businessman and philanthropist from Klang who is well known in the Indian community for helping Tamil schools. He acquired the title ‘Oms’ in his name since he runs a group of companies under the Oms banner.
He is a strong supporter of PKR and its leader Anwar Ibrahim.
On May 26, Thiagarajan celebrated his birthday in a grand manner at a leading hotel in Subang Jaya and the function was attended by Anwar and other opposition leaders.
During his speech, Thiagarajan reiterated his support for Anwar and declared that the latter would be the next prime minister, and that he would celebrate his following birthday with the prime minister.
Thiagarajan was also rumoured to be a possible PKR candidate for a parliament seat in Selangor.
Thiagarajan – next Nesa chief?
The businessman and his key supporters would be contesting for the position of directors at NESA’s annual delegates conference slated for June 30. The other contestants aligned to him are N Rathakrishnan and M Periasamy.
Campaigns had started and the team was said to be touring the country, meeting the 250 or so Nesa delegates.
Rathakrishnan is currently an internal auditor of NESA and the vice-president of PKR Kuala Langat division.
Recently, he made an open declaration that he and his PKR division would work hard to defeat MIC president G Palanivel if the latter contested in the Kuala Langat parliament seat in the next general election.
Meanwhile, Periasamy is the general manager of Tamil daily, Makkal Osai.
Sources familiar with NESA said the scheme to take over the cooperative was being orchestrated by K Saraswathy, a lawyer on Nesa’s panel, together with the cooperative’s CEO Rajannan.
Saraswathy is also the legal advisor for the Oms group of companies.
The lawyer, when speaking at Thiagarajan’s birthday bash, also addressed Anwar as the next prime minister of Malaysia. She too is said to be in the running for a seat under the PKR ticket.
Sources familiar with NESA said that once elected as a director, Thiagarajan was expected to be appointed as the vice-president of NESA replacing V Nadarajan.
The appointment would eventually give Thiagarajan an advantageous position to take over as president of NESA when the time comes for Subramaniam to relinquish his position.
Furthermore, the president and vice- president of NESA are appointed by the NESA board members.
With the election of Thiagarajan and his team as directors the Thiagarajan-Rajannan team would have the majority support in the board to enable them to make the necessary appointments.
“Thiagarajan and his team are expected to win the election as directors since they have the support of NESA CEO Rajannan who has been helming NESA for the last 30 years.
“Rajannan himself was given main-table reception at the birthday celebration of Thiagarajan. Once elected as directors all they have to do is to recruit PKR Indian members into NESA with a minimum paid up capital of RM500 and with that in the coming years they will be able to easily change the composition of NESA delegates in favour of PKR,” said a source.
“We are told that the Selangor state government is also ready to help with the necessary back up support to make NESA the main economic vehicle for the Indian members of PKR,” he added.
The source, who is also a MIC chairman, concluded: “The current problem in NESA is due to the illness of Subramaniam who steered the cooperative for the last 30 years against many odds and obstacles.”
“It is sad to see a cooperative formed and grown by MIC going into the hands of PKR. But there is nothing much anyone can do,” he said.