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Threats used to influence MIC nominations, says Muthu

KUALA LUMPUR, 2 MARCH 2009: MIC presidential aspirant Datuk M Muthupalaniappan claimed today that certain quarters in the party were using threats and underhanded tactics to ensure that he did not obtain the 50 nominations needed to contest the MIC top post.

He said some leaders in the party were threatening the branch chairpersons not to nominate him for the top post, or their branches would face closure for various reasons.

“All sorts of threats are being used. These underhand tactics are to ensure that I do not receive enough nominations to fight for the president’s post. If the election is not fair, then there is no point in contesting,” he told Bernama .

Muthupalaniappan announced late last year his intention to contest the party top post. He will face incumbent president Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu, who had also announced that he would defend the post. The MIC chief has been at the helm of the largest Indian Malaysian-based political party since 1979.

Under the party constitution, a presidential aspirant needs to obtain 50 nominations, and each nomination must have one proposer and five seconders to be eligible to contest. All proposers and seconders must be branch chairpersons.

The MIC president will be picked by some 3,700 branch chairpersons nationwide. The party has fixed 22 March for the presidential nomination, while polling is slated for 12 April.

No pulling out

On whether he would pull out of the contest, Muthupalaniappan said, “There is a lot of speculation … but I will and shall contest.

“They are trying to stop me by stopping people from nominating me. There is no level playing field. They have postponed the annual general meetings of some branches that supported me, especially in Negeri Sembilan, so that my supporters would be ineligible to vote.

“But there are branch leaders who are signing nominations for me, although many are scared of repercussions from the powers that be,” Muthupalaniappan said, without disclosing any names.

The 68-year-old leader from Seremban hoped that the branch leaders would act according to the aspirations of the 600,000 MIC members and the community, which wanted to see change in the MIC top leadership.

He also claimed that some MIC division leaders and state chairpersons, who were supposed to be returning officers in the presidential elections, were involved in campaigning.    

“Under the party constitution, division leaders and state chairpersons are returning officers of the presidential election. If they are returning officers, they should not be allowed to campaign in the election. It is like the Election Commission campaigning in an election. That is wrong,” he stated. — Bernama

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