KUALA LUMPUR, 31 Oct 2008: The MIC has postponed the elections for its top posts, except that of president, to September next year, according to party sources.
They reveal that the decision to move the party polls from June to September was taken at a meeting of the MIC central working committee (CWC), the party’s highest decision-making body, earlier this month.
However, the election for the post of president would go on as scheduled in late February next year, the sources told Bernama.
Long-serving president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, who took over the leadership of the party in 1979 and has retained the post for 10 consecutive terms, is the only candidate so far to announce his intention to contest the top post.
Tamil newspapers earlier this month quoted him as saying he would hand over the MIC to whosoever was picked as the deputy president at the party polls this time around.
The nearly 1,500 divisional delegates would, at the polls now set for September next year, pick a deputy president, three vice-presidents and 23 CWC members.
In the MIC, the presidential election is held at least three months ahead of the elections for the other posts. The president, in the case of a contest, is picked by branch office-bearers while other national leaders are picked by divisional delegates.
The deputy presidency seems to be the all-important post this time around as observers feel that the man who fills this post would lead the 650,000-member MIC into the next general election.
Another school of thought says Samy Vellu might decline going for the presidency if he can strike a deal among the big players in MIC politics before February next year, but this is unlikely to happen taking into account the political ambitions of a few in the upper hierarchy of the party.
“Things are very unclear now. Nobody knows what is going on in his (Samy Vellu’s) mind. It is all a guessing game. Only time will tell who he would endorse as his deputy, if he ever endorses anyone,” party veteran and treasurer-general Tan Sri M Mahalingam told Bernama, when contacted.
Many in the party, without voicing out, prefer Samy Vellu to leave and let democracy take its course. This is, however, rebutted by the 72-year-old leader, who says he does not want to leave the party in disarray due to political infighting after his departure as the president.
The MIC, like other Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties in the peninsula, suffered a bruising defeat in the 8 March general elections when only three of its nine parliamentary candidates won.
The three are Datuk Dr S Subramaniam (Segamat), who is the human resource minister and MIC secretary-general; Datuk M. Saravanan (Tapah), the federal territories deputy minister and MIC information chief; and S K Devamany (Cameron Highlands), deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.
Dr Subramanian is seen as potential deputy president material. Others expected by party observers to join the contest for deputy president are Datuk S Subramaniam, the former deputy president; Datuk G Palanivel, the incumbent deputy president and Datuk S Sothinathan, an incumbent vice-president.
It is learnt that Dr Subramaniam will only contest the party’s No 2 post with the blessings of Samy Vellu while the other three are playing a wait-and-see game. — Bernama