Malaysian Indian politicians draw battle lines

November 13th, 2008 - 2:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Nov 13 (IANS) Battle lines have been drawn in the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), the country’s largest party of the two million plus ethnic group, and the smaller Indian Progressive Front (IPF) with long time leaders of both parties being challenged. The MIC is facing internal dissensions, especially after the party’s dismal performance in the March elections, with its long time chief M. Samy Vellu being challenged by former MIC vice president M. Muthupalaniappan.

The two will clash for the top post in the party polls next March.

After initial hesitation, Muthupalaniappan said Wednesday that he was confident of garnering enough support for an upset win over Vellu, who lost his parliament re-election bid, reported The New Straits Times.

Acknowledging that it would be an uphill task to take on Vellu, the veteran politician said he had strong support from workers at the grassroots.

“I have been approached by numerous people asking me to contest the top post and I have also received overwhelming support and encouraging words from community leaders and also party members… this is why I have decided to challenge Samy Vellu.”

“It is time for a change for the betterment and I am capable of bringing this change to the party and the community as a whole,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.

The IPF is dealing with its own set of problems.

Two senior IPF members have been suspended, while another has been ordered to resign from all posts for violating regulations by party president Puan Sri Jayashree Pandithan.

Deputy president V. Senggutuan and vice president M. Mathyalagan had been suspended for three months effective last Monday.

And youth wing chief R. Ravi Shanker has also been ordered to resign from his positions in the IPF after the Insolvency Department confirmed that he had been declared bankrupt.

Jayashree succeeded her husband M.G. Pandithan, who died in May, causing murmurs among the other leaders. Pandithan had been an MIC senior before he broke away to form the IPF.

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