Malaysia’s Samy Vellu to defend party presidency for 11th time

November 17th, 2008 - 2:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Nov 17 (IANS) S. Samy Vellu, long-time chief of the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), says he will fight for the top job for the eleventh time next March. He will not call it quits and is ready to face any challenge.

He has also rejected a suggestion from former party vice president M. Muthupalaniappan that the presidency should be restricted to two terms.

“We are a democratic party and anyone can contest, including for the post of president.”

“I welcome any challenger. I hope 100 aspirants will stand for president,” Vellu said Sunday after opening a seminar on party rebranding at a hotel here.

Muthupalaniappan offered himself to stand against Vellu last week, citing overwhelming calls by senior party leaders and members as the reason for his decision.

Even as he welcomed a challenge, Vellu said: “Now is not the right time to talk about a contest since we are concentrating on efforts to strengthen the party throughout the country.

“The party’s central working committee must meet and make a decision before anyone can talk about a contest,” he was quoted as saying in The Star newspaper Monday.

Vellu has been under pressure to quit, specially after the MIC, that has traditionally spoken for Malaysia’s two million-plus ethnic Indians, fared badly in election in March this year.

Vellu himself lost his ninth bid at re-election to parliament and the MIC’s strength was whittled down from 16 to three.

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