(Updated 4:02pm, 22 March 2009)
KUALA LUMPUR, 22 March 2009: Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu today retained the MIC presidency for a record 11th consecutive term after the party presidential nomination closed at the party headquarters at noon.
Samy Vellu obtained 455 nominations as opposed to a paltry five garnered by his challenger, former MIC vice-president Datuk M Muthupalaniappan.
Under the party constitution, a presidential aspirant needs to obtain 50 nominations, with each nomination needing one proposer and five seconders, to be eligible to contest. All proposers and seconders must be branch chairpersons.
The MIC president would have been picked by about 3,700 branch chairpersons nationwide in the event of a contest.
The MIC presidential election steering committee head, Datuk K Vijayanathan, announced at 1.45pm that Samy Vellu had retained the post, to the cheers of some 500 of the president’s supporters.
Samy Vellu, who was Works Minister before his defeat in the 2008 general election in his parliamentary constituency of Sungai Siput, has been at the helm of the largest Indian-based political party since 1979 when he became the acting president after the death of then president Tan Sri V Manikavasagam.
Samy Vellu’s win today came on the date that he had officially become the party supremo 28 years ago in 1981.
Vijayanathan, in making the announcement, said Samy Vellu had obtained 572 nominations in all but 117 nominations were rejected for non-compliance with the party constitution and the presidential election by-laws.
Muthupalaniappan had 53 nominations but 48 were rejected for the same reasons, he said.
“The election steering committee had verified all the nomination papers and as a result of the verification we rejected those nominations from both the contenders.”
“Our task was to follow the constitution and the presidential election by-laws and, at the end of it, we found only one candidate qualified to contest. We are obliged under the constitution to declare Datuk Seri Samy Vellu as the MIC president for the term 2009-2012,” he said.
Samy Vellu, in his victory speech, reiterated that this would be his last presidential election and that he would hand over the MIC top post to a leader “who is capable enough”.
He did not say when he would hand over power. Elections for all the other national posts — deputy president, three vice-presidents and 23 central working members — are expected to be held in September.
“I would like to thank all the branch, division and state liaison chiefs who worked hard to ensure my victory. This is not just my victory but also a victory for all grassroots leaders.
“This mandate will be protected and our efforts to rebuild the party, which is now ongoing, will continue. We will also work hard to ensure victory in the three by-elections, especially in Bukit Selambau, for the Barisan Nasional (BN),” he said.
Kedah MIC deputy chair Datuk S. Ganeson, 49, has been named as the BN candidate for the Bukit Selambau by-election on 7 April.
The other two by-elections are for the Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat in Perak and the Batang Ai state seat in Sarawak, polling for which will also be on 7 April.
Samy Vellu said he had been in the Bukit Selambau state constituency over the last three weeks and was confident of a BN victory there.
“I will leave after this (term). I have nothing to hide. All the 3,640 MIC branch leaders are my bosses,” he declared. — Bernama