Malaysian Indian Congress chief retains post for 11th term

March 22nd, 2009 - 3:44 pm ICT by IANS  

S. Samy Vellu Kuala Lumpur, March 22 (IANS) Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) chief S. Samy Vellu Sunday retained the presidentship of the party for the 11th consecutive term after winning uncontested.
With this he becomes the longest-serving chief of the party that speaks for the two million-plus Indian diaspora.

At the party’s presidential nomination here, those of his challenger M. Muthupalaniappan were rejected, Star Online said quoting party sources.

According to them, many of the branch chairmen who nominated the former MIC vice-president had also nominated Vellu.

“MIC divisional chiefs who checked with the branch chairmen claim that too many nominations secured by Muthupalaniappan had dual nominees (Vellu and Muthupala-niappan).

“Such nominations would be deemed as null and void,” the newspaper said.

The sources said Muthupalaniappan, 66, who had many of those nominations, may not have the sufficient number to submit his papers for the president’s post.

Officials said Vellu had 540 nominations, while Muthupalaniappan claimed to have secured 51.

A candidate needs to secure 50 nominations, with each nomination needing a proposer and five seconders, all branch chairmen, to be eligible to contest.

The MIC president is picked by the chairmen of the 3,700 branches who would be required to vote in their respective divisions.

Muthupalaniappan said the branch chairmen who proposed and seconded him did so on their own accord.

“I did not coerce any of them to nominate me,” he said.

Vellu, 73, has been heading MIC since 1979.

A long-time minister, he lost his ninth bid at re-election in March last year. The Indian community was perceived as having moved away from the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) towards the opposition’s Pakatan Rakyat.

He has since then fended off demands that he quit on charges of corruption and arm-twisting his critics.

Tamils, who came here during the British era, form a bulk of Malaysia’s ethnic Indian community that numbers an estimated 2.5 million, forming eight percent of the multi-racial population of 28 million.

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