Malaysia’s Samy Vellu to contest party polls last time

April 5th, 2008 - 3:58 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, April 5 (IANS) Defying critics, S. Samy Vellu will defend his presidency of the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) for the last time in the party polls scheduled for March 2009. “I will retire in 2012 (after the end of the three-year presidency). I have already said it before,” the 72-year-old leader told reporters at a function in a Tamil school here Friday.

Vellu added that he would also stick to his decision of not contesting any parliamentary seat in the next general election.

Vellu had said last month during the run-up to the general election that the poll would be his last. He lost his ninth bid at re-election.

Post his defeat in the general election, Vellu said he was “still alive, not dead” and vowed to continue as MIC chief, describing himself as “a workaholic”.

MIC, which has represented the interests of the 2.5 million ethnic Indians in the ruling alliance Barisan Nasional (BN), lost 16 seats and won only three.

Dissensions within MIC had led to 40 party members campaigning for the opposition during the general election, Utusan Malaysia newspaper said.

It quoted Vellu as saying: “We will let the disciplinary committee investigate before any action is taken.”

Vellu has led the party since taking over the presidency in 1979 and there have been growing demands that he should quit. The politician said he would be happy if anyone contested against him for the top party post.

“It will also give me a chance to see my strength in the party,” he was quoted as saying in The Star newspaper Saturday.

Vellu said the MIC leadership would be revamped after meetings in May and June. He said there was a need to overhaul the party machinery within the next two years and also recruit 200,000 young members.

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