After 27 years, Vellu wants to be MIC chief again

June 13th, 2008 - 12:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, June 13 (IANS) Going back on a promise made to dissenting party workers, Samy Vellu, who has been president of the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) for the last 27 years, says he will contest for the party’s top post for the 11th term. Though he had told party workers seeking his removal in February that he would quit when the present term ends, Vellu said at a function here Thursday: “I will continue serving until the members say they don’t want me. My term ends on March 8.”

“I will not stop anyone from contesting the president’s post. We are a democratic party. I am elected by popular vote, so it is the members who will decide, Vellu, 72, was quoted as saying in the New Straits Times.

Vellu has declared that he would quit active politics in 2012 and this bid would be his last as party president.

Vellu, who joined the MIC in 1959 as an ordinary worker and moved up the ladder, became president in 1981 after serving two years as acting president.

To contest the president’s post, a potential candidate needs to amass at least 50 nominations from the 3,600 MIC branches nationwide.

Vellu garnered 528 nominations to contest the post in the last presidential election, which he won uncontested.

Tensions within the MIC have stepped up after Vellu lost his ninth re-election bid to parliament.

The MIC, part of the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional, came down from 16 seats to three in the present parliament.

The party has traditionally spoken for Malaysia’s estimated 2.6 million Indian settlers who form eight percent of the country’s 28 million population. But Indian representatives from the opposition alliance have outnumbered MIC in parliament and in state legislatures.

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