With Dato Samy Vellu’s planned exit in January, a major obstacle has been removed and it is likely that snap polls will be held in March next year Dato Samy Vellu is not the first president of a component party of Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition to have been defeated in a general election.
Gerakan’s Tun Lim Chong Yu was defeated in a general election but he chose to retire honorably.
It is no exaggeration to say that that due to his unwillingness to retire honorably following his and MIC’s electoral defeats in the 2008 general election, Samy who has long overstayed his welcome has suffered public humiliation unprecedented in BN’s history, with several BN leaders openly calling him to retire from politics and labeling him a liability to the coalition.
In 2009, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad whom Samy himself has long admired openly lashed out at Samy, describing him as a liability to the Barisan Nasional coalition.
Mahathir said that Samy should relinquish his post for his party's failure in the 2008 general elections, where Samy was also defeated in his parliamentary stronghold of Sungai Siput.
Mahathir was reported to say:
"In other countries, when a leader fails, he resigns voluntarily. In Japan, he would commit harakiri (suicide). We are not asking him (Samy Vellu) to commit harakiri.
"You have failed to lead MIC to the point that you lost yourself,"
"Samy's performance is worse than Pak Lah (Abdullah), but he still does not want to give up his post," he said, adding: "He should have resigned before things got to this stage."
Although Samy has resisted all pressures to quit early, his days were already numbered from the day when he lost his parliamentary seat.
Even the Prime Minister ‘s reminder to BN component party leaders at the launch of 63rd MIC General Assembly that it was pointless for them to strive to be popular within their own party when they were unpopular with the people was seen as a direct message to Samy to retire from politics.
As such, Samy’s yesterday’s announcement that he will finally call it quits in January 2011 does not come as a surprise.
The only question that some people have raised is why did he have to wait this long to make the decision to retire when he could have done so honorably immediately after the 2008 general election and saved himself and MIC all the public political humiliation.
There has been speculation that Prime Minister may dissolve Parliament next year but to proceed with his plan, he has to first ensure that Samy who has been regarded as a liability to BN must step down as MIC president .
With Dato Samy Vellu’s planned exit in January, a major obstacle has been removed and it is likely that snap polls will be held in March next.