The Barisan Alternative candidate, Ruslan Kasim, has a formidable reputation as a political leader who would not wilt under pressure in his determination to stand up for the rights of the people against the powerful and the mighty. Would the Barisan Nasional candidate, S. Sothinathan dare to stand up in Parliament to speak up fearlessly against corruption, malpractices and abuses of power or would he be just another "yes man" to warm his seat in Parliament?
Nobody would believe that Sothinathan could be a courageous and outspoken Parliamentarian to strengthen the voices of justice, accountability, transparency and public integrity unless he could fully explain and apologise for his role in the RM120 million MAIKA Telekom shares hijacking scandal ten years ago.
At the end of April 1992, I brought up in Parliament during the debate on the Royal Address the scandal of the hijacking of the nine million Telekom shares which were specially allocated to the co-operative MAIKA Holdings Bhd. by the Finance Ministry for the socio-economic upliftment of the Indian community.
In his reply the following week, the then Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the Finance Ministry made a special offer of 10 million Telekom shares at RM5 per share to MAIKA Holdings on 29th September 1990 for the interests of the Indian community, but MAIKA Holdings had the finances to take up only one million Telekom shares and the MAIKA Board of Directors recommended that the remaining nine million shares be diverted to three companies which it named.
In the ensuing public controversy, the MAIKA Holdings Board of Directors denied the claims made by the MIC President Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu that it only wanted one million shares and rejected the offer of the remaining nine million shares, stressing that MAIKA had already made firm arrangements for the financing of the 10 million Telekom shares as well as denying that it had recommended that the nine million shares be diverted to three companies.
To date, Samy Vellu has never been able to give a full and satisfactory accounting about the MAIKA Telekom shares hijacking scandal, which were worth more than RM120 million during the 1992 controversy - which would mean that the Indian community in general and the 66,000 MAIKA shareholders lost over RM70 million as a result of the hijacking of the allocation of the nine million Telekom shares by three companies.
What is pertinent for our purpose here is the role of the Barisan Nasional candidate Sothinathan in the MAIKA Telekom shares hijacking scandal.
The three companies used to hijack the nine million Telekom shares from MAIKA were Advance Personal Computers Sdn. Bhd., S.B. Management Services Sdn. Bhd and Clearway Sdn. Bhd.
Sothinathan was the director of two of these three companies, namely Advance Personal Computers Sdn. Bhd and S.B. Management Services Sdn. Bhd., which was a RM2 company.
The full story of the RM120 million MAIKA Telekom shares hijacking scandal has still to be told as the Anti-Corruption Agency failed to bring to book those responsible for the hijacking of the special allocation of the nine million Telekom shares for the socio-economic upliftment of the Indian community.
As Sothinathan was the director of two of the three companies directly involved in the MAIKA Telekom shares hijacking scandal, he should give a full account of his role and involvement in the scandal and publicly apologise to the Indian community and the Malaysian people for what he had done.
If Sothinathan is not prepared to come clean and tell the full story of the MAIKA Telekom shares hijacking scandal, then clearly he is not suitable to be elected to represent the voters in Parliament in the by-election.