KAJANG - Kalai Arasu Muniandy was shot and injured three years ago but he insists that he has never been a gang leader.
The well-known figure among the Indian community here and surrounding areas said he was stunned when he was identified as a leader of Gang 36 in a list purportedly issued by the Home Ministry.
"I have never been involved in any gang activity or even gang fights. I have no criminal record. I am puzzled as to how my nickname ended up in the list," he told The Star.
The 42-year-old father of one said he had a good working relationship with the police in Kajang and had also been active in political and community programmes as the MIC's Hulu Langat division Youth chief for more than a decade.
"I have never been detained or investigated by the police or any other authorities. I am not angry with the police or the authorities. But I want justice and want to know the truth regarding how the list of names surfaced as both the Home Ministry and police have denied releasing it," he said.
Kalai Arasu was born in May 1971 and grew up in the Wardieburn Camp in Setapak, where his father R. Muniandy worked for the Public Works Department.
The family moved to a paternal uncle's house here after his father's death in 1986.
His father's death made him lose interest in education and he dropped out after Form Three.
"I went to Era College here but also dropped out after six months," he said, adding that he shifted to Kuala Kumpur where he took up several jobs before returning here in 2000 to run a franchise company handling security and manpower and also worked as a runner for insurance claims.
"Slowly, I started my own business, supplying security guards, selling funeral caskets and running a real estate business," he said.
Kalai Arasu became involved in politics in 2000, becoming an MIC branch Youth leader and later the Hulu Langat division Youth chief.
He is also a member of the MIC national youth council and the treasurer of Selangor MIC Youth.
"I am active in politics. I have campaigned for Barisan Nasional candidates for the three state assembly seats as well as the Hulu Langat parliamentary seat in several general elections.
"I have organised dinners to get the Indian support as well as hosted programmes and futsal competitions. The people in Kajang know me very well," he said.
Kalai Arasu is also adviser to Persatuan Belia Bersatu Hulu Langat and Persatuan Penganut Sri Maha Manuiswarar Alayam here.
He said he had always used his full name, adding that although some people called him Kalai, he had never identified himself as Kajang Kalai.
"Sometimes people refer to me as MIC's Kajang Kalai or Abang Kalai. This is also a nickname that people use," he said.
He said the unveiling of the list of alleged Indian leaders involved in gangs which was published last Friday had turned his world upside down.
"I have been getting numerous telephone calls. I sense some people also see me differently. Some people have also tweeted, putting my photograph to the name," he said.
Kalai Arasu was shot three times by two unknown assailants on a motorcycle while sitting in a coffeeshop in Kajang in 2010.
He was hospitalised for two weeks but until today, no one has been charged.
"I had been getting threatening text messages and phone calls before the shooting incident. One caller threatened to shoot me. I thought he was not serious, so I told the person to go ahead," he said.
Kalai Arasu, who has since hired a bodyguard, said he had also received threatening calls recently and had lodged police reports.
He said he believed that there were attempts by his political enemies to smear his name as the elections in the MIC divisions are scheduled for next month.