Friday, April 06, 2007

Nalla to enter political fary

He looks set to assume PKR post

Datuk K.S. Nallakarupan, whose main claim to fame was playing tennis with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, may soon make his debut in party politics.

The businessman who regards Anwar as “my good friend” looks set to become a vice-president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) after securing the second highest number of nominations for the post.

Raring to go: Nallakarupan, the businessman, signed up as a party member in August.
“It shows that party members want me,” he said.

He admitted that Anwar, who is PKR advisor, had asked him to join the party in 2004 but he had spent the last few years focusing on his business, travelling as well as making a pilgrimage to India.

He only signed up as a member last August.

Nallakarupan, 60, was a casualty in the chain of events set off by the sacking of the former deputy prime minister in 1998.

The then executive director of the betting company Magnum Corp spent a year in prison after being charged with possessing several rounds of ammunition with an expired weapons permit. He was acquitted in August 1999.

He was widely described as Anwar’s “tennis partner” and also had to endure insinuations that he had arranged Anwar’s extra-curricular activities.

“Don’t believe the rumours you have heard about us. Anwar played tennis with many people but I was the only unlucky partner who went to jail. I can forget my wedding anniversary but I can never forget July 31, 1998, the day I was arrested.”

He is reputed to be a compelling Tamil speaker and has been tasked to secure Indian support for PKR.

He is open to the idea of contesting in the general election but said he would leave it to the party leadership to decide.

The party polls, the second in its short history, is scheduled for May.

The tall and lanky politician who has a pronounced paunch looks anything but a tennis player these days. He said that was because he has long given up the game.

He has not picked up a tennis racquet since the day he was arrested.

Then, with a twinkle in his eye, he said: “Tennis is not good for my health.”

Nallakarupan has received 25 nominations whereas incumbent and cardiologist Dr Lee Boon Chye is leading the race for the three vice-president's posts with 58 nominations.