Friday, September 11, 2009

Acid test for Samy Vellu's grip on MIC in final term

Published on 2009/09/11
The MIC polls tomorrow will decide the direction of the party and will be a test of Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu's grip on the party going into his final term after 33 years almost unchallenged as the president.
A determined Samy Vellu has assembled his own team in incumbent deputy president Datuk G. Palanivel, who is defending his post, Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam, Datuk S.K. Devamany and Datuk M. Saravanan to clinch all the three vice-president tickets and any 23 of 27 candidates for the 23 seats in the central working committee (CWC).
Former deputy president Datuk S. Subramaniam and vice-president Datuk S. Sothinathan, both of whom are going for the No 2 post, and several other candidates have called for change and they believe that that can only be possible if Palanivel is defeated to weaken Samy Vellu.
The losses suffered by the MIC at the last general election could weigh on the balloting pattern.
This makes the election probably the most tense and most watched in the 63-year history of the MIC.
Campaigning officially ended at noon today but the wooing of the 1,464 delegates is expected to continue into the wee hours of tomorrow right until voting time.
A Selangor delegate who declined to be identified said MIC members and the Indian community in general wanted leaders who can boldly voice out the aspirations of the Indian community and also work well with other component parties so that the party would regain its respect.
Another Klang Valley delegate said the MIC faced the task of regaining the support of the Indian community.
"In the last general election, the MIC lost many seats because the community turned to vote opposition candidates," he said.
Party veteran and vice-president Datuk S. Veerasingham is for Samy Vellu's team. "Everyone wants to try the catch word 'change' which has been used by (US president Barack) Obama. Samy Vellu's request to the delegates is to vote those he endorsed so that they can work with him," he said.
Universiti Putra Malaysia lecturer M. Neelamegham said that while 'change' was the key word for most of the candidates, they had failed to focus on what type of change they were talking about.
He said whatever the change, emphasis must be on more opportunities for youth members and empowerment of MIC state leaders.
"Even until now MIC has come out with so much of planning, (but) they have to implement it and focus on their future programmes," he said.

Universiti Sains Malaysia senior lecturer M. Sivamurugan said that in making their decision, the delegates should look at the character of the candidates and focus on the need to strengthen the party following the near wipe-out at the last general election.

"The changes are very important and should be drastic ... the party and members have to prepare for the next general election," he said.
Another attention grabber will be the race for the 23 CWC slots for which the president has endorsed 27 of the 63 contenders.
"This election is going to be a disappointment for Samy Vellu because many candidates who are not in his list will likely win," said a woman delegate.
Samy Vellu retained the top post unopposed in March for a record 11th consecutive term that will end in 2012.

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