After 29 years as MIC chief, Samy Vellu wants to contest again

June 15th, 2008 - 3:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, June 15 (IANS) Prominent Malaysian Indian leader S. Samy Vellu is keen to contest again for president of the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) - a post he has held for the past 29 years, and has declared it would be the last time. Vellu has also rejected the idea of limiting it to three terms as “too short a period” for anyone to deliver.

Vellu has declared he would contest for the post for the last time next March and serve till 2012 - going back on a declaration he made earlier that he would quit after his present term ends in March. He has held the position since 1979, for 10 consecutive terms.

Asked if MIC would make amendments to its constitution to limit the president’s tenure to three terms, or nine years, he said it was pointless to have such a system in MIC.

“If you set it to a specific term, the president may not want to do more or have a long-term plan,” he said in an interview on the “Karathu Kalam” (Opinion Forum) Tamil talkshow over RTM 2.

“He or she may feel why should they think about the future plans of the party since they will only serve for a short period,” Bernama, the official news agency, quoted him as saying.

“No matter what, the president will still have to be elected every three years. If the members feel the president has not performed well, they can boot them out in every election,” The Star reported him as saying Sunday.

“The MIC is made up of 630,000 members. If they feel they want a change, I will abide by their decision,” he said, adding that the party was “more important to him than anything else”.

The MIC has traditionally spoken for Malaysia’s estimated 2.6 million Indian community.

Vellu, who has been with the MIC since 1959, has faced dissension during and after the March elections that he lost. With that he also lost the ministership in the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Vellu also said though he was no longer a cabinet member, the party’s views and proposals have been effectively handled at the cabinet level by Human Resource Minister S. Subramaniam, who is also MIC secretary-general.

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