Samy Vellu not expected to be challenged


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 05 Mar 2003

BY A. LETCHUMANAN

KUALA LUMPUR: The MIC is all prepared for the party’s presidential election although incumbent Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu is not expected to be challenged in Saturday’s nomination. 

Secretary-general S. Sothinathan said more than 700 nomination forms had been collected by branch chairmen since the notice of the nominations for the presidency were published in newspapers on Feb 20. 

“We are finalising the list of delegates who are eligible to vote in the presidential election, if there is a contest,” he said, adding that polling had been scheduled for March 30. 

In the early 1980s,the president was elected by the branch chairmen and committee members but this was found to be a cumbersome and expensive affair. 

In 1994 the system was changed and the post has since been put to vote before some 1,500 delegates attending the party’s general assembly. 

The 580,000-strong party, however, amended its constitution again last year; reverting to the previous system to allow the 4,200 branch chairmen and central working committee (CWC) members to elect the president.  

Under this system, an aspirant for the party’s top post would have to secure at least 50 nominations, with each nomination requiring a proposer and five seconders, all of whom should be branch chairmen or CWC members. 

CWC member S. P. Manivasagam, believes there won’t be any challenge for Samy Vellu who, he said, had done a wonderful job to uplift the standard of the Indian community in the country. 

“Everything is smooth sailing in the party and I don’t see any reason to rock the boat,” he said, adding that Samy Vellu’s leadership was still needed for the community. 

Samy Vellu started off as an ordinary member of the Batu Caves branch in 1959 and rose through the ranks to become the president following the death of V. Manickavasagam in 1979. 

The nominations will be held on March 8, which incidentally is Samy Vellu’s 67th birthday. All indications are that he will be re-elected for a record ninth term. 

He last faced a challenge in 1995 but he easily thrashed the unknown contender. In 1989 he was pitted against his present deputy, Datuk S. Subramaniam. 

Subramaniam, has since become a loyal supporter of Samy Vellu and has endorsed his support for the president with whom he has worked in the past 13 years.  

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