New Malaysian Tamil faces in poll fray

February 16th, 2008 - 12:58 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 16 (IANS) New faces may dominate the list of candidates of the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) in the forthcoming elections. The MIC, that represents the two million-plus ethnic Indians in the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional, could be making “sweeping changes”, as high as 70 to 80 percent among the party’s nominees in the states, The Star newspaper said Saturday.

For parliament seats, 30 percent of the candidates would be new, said long-time MIC president S. Samy Vellu.

The possibility of two youth leaders, Samy Vellu’s son Vell Paari, and Panir Selvam, son of Johor Baru MIC chief K. S. Balakrishnan, being fielded was discounted by Balakrishnan, according to The New Straits Times.

Samy Vellu, who is also the works minister, said the fresh faces were mostly professionals including lawyers and doctors.

“At the same time, we also have to accommodate some of the party stalwarts who have contributed to the party and the community,” he said of the Indian settlers, predominantly Tamils, who form eight percent of the country’s 27 million population.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi dissolved parliament earlier this week, seeking elections a year ahead of the schedule, putting Malaysia in the election mode.

Samy Vellu said the candidates list would be announced only after Badawi, who also heads the coalition, gave his consent.

The MIC contested nine parliamentary and 19 state seats in the 2004 general election and won all.

The MIC president said he was confident the party would repeat the feat.

The “new and energetic” candidates would provide the party with “new hope and new vision”, he said.

“This change (in the candidates) and the changes that are yet to come will also create new dynamism in the party and make it stronger and more relevant,” he said.

“We have not shut our ears. We have been and are open for constructive criticisms and views as long as it benefits the party and the Indians.”

Samy Vellu said the MIC would adopt more practical and technology-based methods to uplift the socio-economic conditions of the Indians.

“We will continue to create more success stories,” he said, adding that MIC’s priority would be to provide the best possible education and skills training to Indians below the age of 25.

Samy Vellu said the party would also strive to lift the self-esteem of the Indians, especially the youths, through more workshops and programmes.

As for single mothers, the MIC would help them to be independent by involving them in cottage industries and other business programmers. Meanwhile, a prominent ethnic Indian lawmaker announced that he would not be running for the legislature this summer.

L. Krishnan, 60, who had been a member of parliament and a provincial legislator from Jeram Pedang during a 13-year career, announced that he would like to devote time to his medical practice and family.

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