MIC president Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu may be adamant about defending his seat in the party polls, but many quarters have been calling for him to step down. The latest came following former vice-president Datuk M Muthuppalaniappan’s announcement that he might contest the presidency, which was given much coverage in the Tamil media from 7 to 14 Nov.
In a Malaysia Nanban report on 7 Nov, former Bagan MIC secretary Hendry Benedict Asirvatham said Samy Vellu must “give way for new leadership”, like what has happened in other Barisan Nasional component parties such as the MCA and Umno.
In another report, Transparency International Malaysia president Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam said, “Samy Vellu should retire from politics.” Many segments of the Indian Malaysian community have voiced their dissatisfaction with the current leadership and the party, he said in the report in Malaysia Nanban on 9 Nov.
He added that Samy Vellu should see this as the time to step down. Samy Vellu, who has been at the helm of the party since 1979, is expected to be challenged in the next party polls in March 2009.
On 11 Nov, all three Tamil dailies reported that former vice-president Datuk M Muthuppalaniappan might contest the MIC president’s post. Makkal Osai quoted Muthu as saying that he is getting overwhelming support from MIC branches and the Indian Malaysian community.
On Makkal Osai‘s front page the next day, he said, “I will stand for the president’s post, but must make sure the election is fair.”
On the same day, Malaysia Nanban carried the responses from former MIC leaders. “It’s enough for Samy Vellu,” said Datuk V Govintharajoo.
“It’s a democratic right to stand for election,” said former Johor MIC leader Tan Sri G Pasamanickam.
MIUP, MIC, IPF
Malaysia Nanban on 7 Nov carried a report on whether Datuk S Nallakaruppan’s Malaysian Indian United Party (MIUP) would join the MIC. The paper, quoting Malaysiakini as the source, said there are high-level talks taking place to enable MIUP to join the MIC.
Responding to this, Samy Vellu said there is no plan for a merger between the two parties. His response was reported by Tamil Nesan and Makkal Osai on 9 Nov.
The suspension of Indian Progressive Front (IPF) deputy president V Senggutuan and vice-president M Mathyalagan made headlines in the Tamil media. Makkal Osai on 13 Nov reported that Senggutuan is said to have violated party regulations, and Mathyalagan has made press statements contradicting the party leadership.
The paper reported that the party has also asked its Youth chief R Ravi Shankar to resign because he has been declared bankrupt.
On 14 Nov, the paper reported that Mathyalagan has demanded that party president Puan Sri Jayashree Pandithan revoke the suspension. “I give [her] 48 hours to repeal the suspension,” he was quoted as saying.
He said if she fails to do so, he will lodge a corruption report against her. He also said he will submit a report against the party leaders to the prime minister and deputy prime minister.
Boycotts and better performance
All three Tamil dailies on 8 Nov reported the call by MIC Youth to boycott Sri Lankan products. Tamil Nesan‘s report, Boycott movement against Sri Lankan products and airline, said it was a protest against the killing of Tamils in Sri Lanka.
MIC Youth coordinator T Mohan said the Sri Lankan embassy in Malaysia had refused to receive a memorandum from the movement in the previous week.
Malaysia Nanban reported on the meeting between MIC Youth and several non-governmental organisations, which decided to hold a peaceful march in front of the Sri Lankan embassy on 14 Nov.
The three Tamil dailies also reported that the number of Tamil school students who received good grades in the UPSR examination has increased. Malaysia Nanban said 719 students scored seven As in 2008, compared with 577 in 2007. “It’s a new history,” the paper said.