Malaysian Indian party readying for general election

April 1st, 2011 - 4:20 pm ICT by IANS  

S. Samy Vellu Kuala Lumpur, April 1 (IANS) With its key ethnic Indian partner Friday postponing organisational polls, Malaysia’s ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) alliance is preparing for a general election likely this year.

The Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), the country’s largest Indian-based party, is the latest to put off preparations for elections to its various bodies, due next year, “to concentrate on the next general election,” its president G. Palanivel announced.

The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) that represents the majority Malays and the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), both BN partners, have already postponed their internal electoral exercises.

Taking a cue from them, the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP), headed by ethnic Indian Karpal Singh, has already postponed party polls “with the general election in mind,” The Star said.

Speculation about an early election, as of now scheduled for March 2013, has been rife since Prime Minister and BN chief Najib Razak said some weeks ago that they were “round the corner”.

Palanivel said the decision was taken at the MIC’s Central Working Committee(CWC) four-hour meeting here late Thursday.

“This is to ensure the party can undertake the necessary preparations to contest and campaign in the (general) election,” he said Friday.

Palanivel appointed S. Vel Paari, the son of former party president S. Samy Vellu, as the MIC’s publicity and media relations chief.

Yayasan Sosial Strategik (YSS), a social development centre for the Malaysian Indian community has been designated the party’s think tank.

Vellu, who stepped down as MIC chief after three decades, is now Malaysia’s special envoy for infrastructure to India and other South Asian countries.

MIC party elections are held every three years, with branch elections in February-March, divisional elections in April and the elections for national posts, except for the president’s post, during the general assembly in August.

The presidential election has to be called before May 2012 while the election for the deputy president, three vice presidents and 23 CWC members is scheduled at next year’s party general assembly.

However, under the MIC constitution, the CWC has the powers to postpone party elections.

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