Malaysia’s Samy Vellu invites rival party to join them (Lead)

February 1st, 2009 - 4:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 1 (IANS) Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) chief S. Samy Vellu has invited the Indian Progressive Front (IPF), which broke away some years ago, to return to the party fold to serve the Indian community better.Vellu Saturday extended an olive branch to the Indian Progressive Front (IPF), in the hope that it will dissolve and merge with his party.

He said the party’s gesture was to unite all Indians who could not afford to be divided anymore, The Star said Sunday.

“We will give them (IPF members) due respect and treat them like our brothers,” Vellu said in a statement.

He said he would write to IPF president Jayashree, widow of the IPF founder late M.G. Pandithan, on a possible merger.

Pandithan had formed the party after a fallout with Vellu.

The IPF, which claimed to have 250,000 members, is said to be facing a leadership tussle after Jayashree expelled several top leaders and members, including deputy president V. Senggutuan, vice-president V. Mathiyalagan and youth chief R. Ravi Shankar.

“The time has come for the Indians to unite as a strong force,” Samy Vellu said.

IPF is a constituent of the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN).

Vellu said the political scenario had changed “and we have to move and act with the winds of change”.

“We have to ride the tide,” he said.

He added that the Indians were a small community numbering about 1.8 million in Malaysia but were now divided into several political parties.

He said only by becoming united could the Indian community have a strong “bargaining power” and he was prepared to work with anyone for the sake of the Indian community’s unity.

Vellu is seeking an eleventh term as party president and Saturday said he would quit “at an appropriate time”.

The MIC will hold its triennial elections for the post of deputy president, three vice-presidents and Central Working Committee (CWC) members in September.

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