KUALA LUMPUR, 11 Nov 2008: Former MIC vice-president Datuk M Muthupalaniappan today confirmed that he would contest the MIC presidency against incumbent Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu.
He said since announcing yesterday that he was thinking of contesting the MIC top post, he had been overwhelmed with telephone calls from MIC members and senior leaders voicing their support and encouraging him to contest the party presidency.
“After receiving overwhelming response from grassroot leaders, I have decided to stand for the post of president,” he told Bernama.
Muthupalaniappan, a one-time ally of Samy Vellu, hoped that the presidential election would be conducted in “a fair, transparent and clean manner”.
Come March, the largest Indian-based political party in the country will hold its presidential election, while the election of the deputy president, three vice-presidents and 23 central working committee (CWC) members will be held in September.
Samy Vellu, who has been at the helm of MIC since 1979, had announced that he would defend the party top post and was initially speculated to win the post uncontested.
However, the 68-year old Muthupalaniappan’s bid for the top post will see him throw a spanner in the works, if he manages to garner nominations from 50 branches.
The party constitution requires a presidential candidate to obtain at least 50 nominations from the branches before he/she is allowed to contest for the top post. Each nomination must be proposed by a branch office-bearer and seconded by five other branch office-bearers.
The branch office-bearers will cast their ballots to pick the MIC president, unlike for other national positions which will be decided by some 1,500 delegates to the party’s general assembly.
“The election must be conducted in a healthy manner to show that MIC is transparent. I promise to bring change to the party and the community as a whole. The key to the success of Indians in this country, I believe, is unity and this will be my theme,” said Muthupalaniappan, who is known as Muthu in the party inner circles.
The Seremban-based Muthupalaniappan, a lawyer by profession, was first elected to the MIC central working committee in 1979. The same year, he was appointed Negeri Sembilan MIC chief and party Youth head.
He was made a senator in 1980, and two years later, won the Si Rusa state assembly seat and was appointed to the Negeri Sembilan state executive council.
He contested the party vice-presidency in 1987 and 1991 but lost in both bids.
Muthupalaniappan eventually landed a veep seat in 1997 but failed to retain the post at the party’s 2000 and 2006 elections. — Bernama