After a "contest-free" 20 years or so for the coveted post of president in the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), incumbent party chief Datuk Seri G. Palanivel is expected to face a tough challenge in the defence of his position at the party's presidential polls to be called in about eight to nine months.
The last time the 67-year-old party had a presidential contest was in 1993, when the then MIC President Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu
was challenged by S. Subramaniam, better known as Jumbo Maniam. Samy
Vellu won the contest. A prominent MIC veteran who spoke on condition
of anonymity said the current deputy president, Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, seems to be planning to mount a serious challenge for the post.
Subra, as he is known in MIC circles, will have an arduous time between
now and the election to secure the support of branch chairmen and, at
the same time, to keep up with his busy schedule as the new Health
Dr Subra recently indicated his intention to go for the
post to party elder Samy Vellu to get the latter's blessings. "He
(Samy Vellu) has given his green light," the source told Bernama, saying
that this was against the backdrop of the party's democratic
As the longest-serving MIC president until he
relinquished his position in 2010, Samy Vellu is said to be still "in
control" of more than 45 percent of the 3,700 branch chairmen who will
elect the new president.
Dr Subra, 60, is a dermatologist by training and the Segamat Member of Parliament since 2004.
served as the parliamentary secretary to the Ministry of Housing and
Local Government from 2004 to 2008, before being appointed as the
Minister of Human Resources after the 12th General Election.
Palanivel, 64, was a journalist in Bernama and an aide to Samy Vellu at one time.
last presidential election was held in March 2009, for a three-year
term, where Samy Vellu won unopposed. Samy Vellu passed the leadership
baton to the then deputy president, Palanivel, the current Minister of
Natural Resources and Environment.
MIC elections at all levels
would be held by the first quarter of next year, according to the
decision taken by the party at its highest decision-making council, the
Central Working Committee (CWC), recently.
election is held three months before polling for the deputy president,
three vice-presidents and 23 CWC members.
With Dr Subra setting
his path clear for a presidential challenge, the next big question is
who the aspirant deputy president will be.
An internal source said that MIC vice-president Datuk M. Saravanan
is keen to contest the No. 2 post and is believed to be holding talks
with both Palanivel and Subramaniam as to whom he should form a tag with
in the polls.
Saravanan, known as a young and capable leader, wants to ride on the "new tech savvy generation" of the MIC leadership.
deputy youth and sports minister is believed to have no problems in
securing Samy Vellu's acquiescence as the former is a staunch follower
of the 77-year-old leader who still has a strong say in the party.