Saturday 27 October 2012

MACC report against Palani’s aide - B Nantha Kumar

Several businessmen claim corrupt practices in the handing out of cooking oil packing contracts to Indian contractors.

PETALING JAYA: Several businessmen have lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) against a senior and most trusted aide of cabinet member and MIC president G Palanivel.

The report is over alleged corrupt practices involved in the handing out of cooking oil packing contracts overseen by Palanivel in his capacity as the lead minister of Indian Affairs in the Prime Minister’s Department.

The report accused Dr S Vijendran, who until last week was the political secretary of Palanivel but has since been redesignated as private secretary to the minister, of manipulating the cooking oil packing contracts to favour one particular contractor.

“We are frustrated with Dr Vijendran’s involvement in the cooking oil packing contract which is supposed to be open for all deserving Indian entrepreneurs,” said one of the complainants who wished to be unnamed for now.

He said that the MACC should take immediate steps to look into the alleged corrupt practices as it was hampering the growth of genuine Indian entrepreneurs. The report was made yesterday despite it being a public holiday.

“If there is no action taken soon, we will hold a rally against Palanivel for still relying on Vijendran on matters involving the Indian business community,” he said.

Cooking oil packing contract

Giving a background to the cooking oil packing contract, the businessman said the federal government had recently agreed to award the contract to Indian entrepreneurs as a way to give them room to be successful in business.

The distribution of the contract was handled by Suria Cooperative Society which is chaired by Palanivel, who had then left it in the hands of Vijendran to pick the deserving Indian businessmen to service the contract.

Originally seven Indian companies had been identified for the contract but five of them were rejected for not holding a Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry (KPDNKK) licence.

And from the two qualified companies, Vijendran allegedly decided to pick only one as the other did not apparently meet the requirements set by Suria Cooperative Society.

At the same time, Vijendran also had allegedly turned away other companies who had obtained the KPDNKK licence. He is also accused of asking these new companies to become sub-contractors to one particular company.

“Why is he giving special privilege to the particular company when the contract is meant to help the Indian business community? Why is Palanivel keeping quiet over this matter?” asked the complainant. He wants the MACC to investigate this.

He also claimed that Vijendran’s action had only resulted in the sole contract winner of making hefty profits.
“By having more Indian companies on board, more people would enjoy the benefits instead of one or two connected individuals,” he said.

Palanivel’s trusted aide

The complainants also questioned the huge power and authority wielded by Vijendran in Suria Cooperative Society although he does not hold any position in the cooperative which was set up to help the Indian business community.

“We want the MACC to investigate who is behind Vijendran and the special privileges given to a particular company,” he said.

Vijendran, popularly known as Dr Vijay, is widely known as Palanivel’s most trusted aide, who on most occassions performs tasks on behalf of the minister. He is also said to be involved in seat negotiations and candidate selections for MIC, on behalf of the party president.

However in recent weeks he had come under a huge spotlight over his status as a bankrupt. According to documents seen by FMT, the Department of Insolvency had declared Vijendran a bankrupt on March 1, 2011.

Arising from this, some quarters have questioned his position as Palanivel’s political secretary – a position he could not assume as a bankrupt.

Following this, he had clarified that he was only a private secretary to Palanivel despite his name cards stating his position as a political secretary. He has also denied that he was a bankrupt.

Palanivel himself had not issued any statement on this matter but FMT learnt that Vijendran was redesignated as a private secretary early this week, with his salary being paid by Palanivel himself.

FMT has been unable to obtain a clarification from Vijendran.

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