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Mar 1, 2008


Minister flees from protesters
Hindraf supporters say: We only wanted 10 mins of Samy Vellu's time
Electric News paper

MALAYSIAN Indian Congress chief Samy Vellu had to cut his rally short after he was nearly accosted by more than 10 supporters of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) on Tuesday.

The incident took place at 1pm when Mr Samy Vellu arrived in a market in Prai, Penang, to canvass for votes, reported Nanyang Siang Pau.

The MIC chief, who is also the Works Minister, was about to begin his rally speech and press conference when the protesters marched up to him.

Despite the presence of 50 police officers, several of the protesters managed to break through Mr Samy Vellu's security detail.

The protesters wanted Mr Samy Vellu to discuss the problems facing the Indian community as well as to release Hindraf members who have been detained for demonstrating in Kuala Lumpur last November.

But when Mr Samy Vellu saw his accosters, he quickly escaped by hopping into his car and driving off to his next destination.

This only enraged the Hindraf supporters, who kept shouting at him, saying that he should not leave if he had not done anything wrong.

Mr Samy Vellu has been labelled a political liability after several embarrassing incidents.

Besides last November's protest, which accused the MIC of failing to protect the Indian community's welfare, the Works Ministry has been saddled with problems, from leaky roofs in the Malaysian Parliament House to cracks in a major highway in Kuala Lumpur.

Speaking to reporters, the Hindraf supporters said they had no intention of hurting Mr Samy Vellu.

Claiming that the Indian community is underprivileged, the Hindraf supporters said they just wanted 10 minutes of Mr Samy Vellu's time because they felt they deserved an explanation from him.

In a separate incident that evening, Mr Samy Vellu was forced to cancel a walkabout in Lunas, Kedah, after 3,000 Hindraf supporters demonstrated against his appearance there, reported Sin Chew Daily.

The demonstrators had gathered there at 6.30pm, after getting wind of Mr Samy Vellu's appearance.

More than 70 riot police officers were deployed to the scene.

The son of opposition politician NGobalakrishnan was among the protesters, and he and two others were detained.

The standoff continued until 7.45pm, when Mr Gobalakrishnan, who is the vice-president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, arrived at the scene and asked the police to release the detainees.

Mr Gobalakrishnan was allowed to fetch his son from the Lunas Police Station.

At an earlier press conference, MrSamy Vellu insisted that only a minority of Indians were dissatisfied with the Barisan Nasional coalition government.

He also said he believed that the BN could easily resolve the dissatisfaction of this minority.


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