By Athi Shankar
GEORGE TOWN: DAP's top leadership will investigate allegations of nepotism and cronyism lodged by three party members against Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy.
National chairman Karpal Singh said the allegations raised by the trio in a letter dated Nov 25 were serious enough to warrant a thorough probe by the party leadership.
“We cannot ignore the allegations. We must investigate them and clear the air once and for all.
“Otherwise, it will tarnish the party's image and credibility,” he told FMT.
Three party members – S Deventhiran from Bukit Tambun Manis branch, M Mahendran (Taman Mangga) and Manogaran (Kampung Manis) – wrote the two-page letter containing the allegations.
The letter was sent to Chief Minister and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, and carbon-copied to Karpal, state DAP chairman Chow Kon Yeow, Bukit Mertajam MP Chong Eng and Datuk Keramat assemblyman Jagdeep Singh Deo.
In the letter, the trio alleged that Ramasamy's cronies have been awarded many state contracts.
They hinted that the DCM II had influenced the decision-making process to award the contracts.
The contracts include Tamil school development and computer supply, Penang Water Supply Corporation and Penang Hindu Endowments Board tenders.
Surrounded by cronies
The trio have listed the names of at least 16 people as Ramasamy's cronies, including his personal aides Jayabalan and M Satees.
The trio have also alleged that since being appointed as the DCM II, Ramasamy has deliberately sidelined and isolated existing long-serving Indian members of the party.
Instead, they claimed that Ramasamy had fenced himself with a group of cronies, largely from Barisan Nasional and strangers.
The allegations are not something new. They have been around for the past two years.
Many long-serving Indian members even claimed that Ramasamy and several other elected representatives were undermining their efforts to revitalise the abandoned Indian affairs bureau in the party.
“Some were unknown before the election and some worked against DAP during the polls. But they are now influential figures within Ramasamy's inner circle.
“Many are MIC members,” claimed certain party members on the alleged cronies.
In the letter, Deventhiran, Mahendran and Manogaran alleged that Ramasamy had failed to carry any worthy projects to help the marginalised Indian community in the state, especially in his own Batu Kawan parliamentary and Prai state constituencies.
The trio had called upon Lim to immediately probe into their complaints.
They vowed to furnish the inquiry with correct information and proper evidence.
Nothing to hide
In his response, Ramasamy hit back at the complainants, claiming that they were not even genuine party members.
Following his office's check on the complainants, he claimed that the trio had given false identities and details in the letter.
However, he said he was prepared to face any investigation into the allegations since he has nothing to hide.
“All these contracts were awarded through open tenders.
“And I don't sit in the state tender board,” he said.
He said the timing of the letter clearly showed that it was maliciously meant to undermine his campaign to get elected into the state committee.
The state DAP held its election on Dec 12, in which Ramasamy won and was subsequently appointed as new state DAP deputy chairman.
Karpal has hinted that the internal investigation would include calling up witnesses including the complainants, the accused and alleged cronies.
“The party leadership cannot neglect complaints by its own members,” Karpal said, adding that he would soon talk to Lim on the issue.