Vote wisely, Samy Vellu tells Malaysian Indians

February 17th, 2008 - 3:49 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 17 (IANS) Malaysian Works Minister S. Samy Vellu has urged the two million-plus ethnic Indian community to “vote wisely” in the March 8 election. Reflecting on criticism against his holding the presidentship of the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) for long, Vellu advised Indian voters “not to let emotions rule” when casting their votes as “they will end up regretting it”, The Star newspaper said Sunday.

He said it was important for them to vote wisely for the sake of their children and the Indian community.

“We are slowly increasing the number of youth leaders in the party and I will handover the leadership when they are ready. I will then walk away,” he said.

“But don’t be emotional when casting your votes or you will destroy the community with your own hands,” he warned.

“This is going to be the biggest turn in politics - whether you give the Barisan Nasional or the opposition a chance to run the country,” he told a party workers’ rally.

MIC is part of the coalition that has representation of the three major ethnic groups - Malays, Chinese and Indians. Indians are represented by some other parties as well, including the Democratic Action Party (DAP).

Vellu later briefly sang a popular 1960s Tamil song “Sollathan Ninaikkiren Mudiyeavillai” to stress to the majority Indian crowd how hard it was to express his thoughts in words.

He was leading a strong MIC team to Prai, considered the party’s bastion, in an effort to retain the state seat. He also visited key Indian-dominated areas.

Vellu said the party has worked hard for the Indian community especially during troubled times.

Meanwhile, The Star newspaper said at least three of MIC’s nine MPs and 12 of its 19 state assemblymen are expected to make way for fresh faces.

Party observers expect Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Deputy Minister and Tapah MP S. Veerasingam, Subang MP K.S. Nijhar and Cameron Highlands MP S.K. Devamany to make way for new blood.

They said the incumbent MPs had been effective in carrying out their duties and responsibilities, but had to make way for younger leaders.

Veerasingam is tipped to return to Sungkai and be appointed to the state executive council and also helm the Perak MIC.

The lawmakers who would retain their seats include Samy Vellu (Sungai Siput), deputy president G. Palanivel (Hulu Selangor), vice-president S. Sothinathan (Teluk Kemang), secretary-general S. Subramaniam (Segamat), Wanita MIC (party’s women’s wing) chief Komala Krishnamoorthy (Kapar) and MIC Youth chief S.A. Vigneswaran (Kota Raja).

Among those in contention for parliamentary seats are MIC information chief M. Saravanan and youth social and welfare bureau committee chairman T. Mohan.

However, observers said surprises could not be ruled out when Vellu announces the list of the MIC candidates after getting Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s consent next week.

They said Vellu was keeping the proposed list of candidates close to his chest. Younger leaders were expected to take over several state seats in Kedah, Perak, Penang and Selangor.

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