Malaysian Indian Congress to field 15 new faces in polls

February 21st, 2008 - 1:06 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 21 (IANS) Fifteen new faces, mainly professionals, figure in the list of nominees of the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) for the March 8 general elections. The MIC, under pressure from Indians over economic and welfare issues affecting the community, made a sweeping change in its list for state assembly seats: bringing in 13 new faces and retaining just six incumbents, The Star newspaper said.

At the parliamentary level, the MIC, which represents the interests of the two million-plus ethnic Indians and is part of the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional, is fielding two new faces and is sticking to seven old members.

The MIC and other Barisan Nasional constituents announced their list of candidates Wednesday. Nominations close Monday.

The party’s long-time chief and Works Minister S. Samy Vellu is seeking re-election for a ninth term in parliament.

Vellu told the media that the MIC was keeping its promise of introducing fresh blood while retaining incumbents with experience.

He said the party was fielding professionals, including lawyers and teachers, who had actively served the Indian community.

The line-up included seven lawyers and two who had read the law but had never practised.

“This is because we feel they will be able to discuss and negotiate issues plaguing the Indian community and bring it up to the government. This will help alleviate problems faced by the Indian community,” The New Straits Times quoted him as saying.

It added that he was “positively gushing about the changes he was introducing”.

“We are giving the Indian community new candidates. We are confident they will vote for these new representatives. The people have said that they want to be represented by qualified persons and we are giving them people who will be able to look into their issues.”

Asked what would happen if the mix of new and old candidates did not go down well with voters, he said he would not resign “just because two or three persons lose”.

“(Do) you want me to take responsibility and resign? I will be destroying my party… I won’t do that.”

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had called for an early dissolution of parliament last week and opted for the 10th general election a year ahead of schedule.

Besides Vellu, the coalition has re-nominated two other ministers, Fong Chan Onn, an ethnic Chinese, and Abdullah Zin, a Malay.

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