KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu was returned unopposed as president of MIC for an unprecedented ninth term.
Party leaders, branch officials, businessmen and well-wishers present at the MIC headquarters mobbed Samy Vellu yesterday immediately after the announcement by election steering committee chairman Tan Sri G. Pasamanickam at 5pm.
Deputy president Datuk S. Subramaniam was the first to congratulate Samy Vellu, followed by the many others pressing forward to garland the president, who was also celebrating his 67th birthday.
Pasamanickam said Samy Vellu had received 486 nominations for the president’s post, which he had held for 22 years.
Another 14 nominations, he added, had been rejected because of irregularities.
“Since there was no other candidates nominated, I declare that Samy Vellu has been unanimously elected as the president,” he said.
The new term will run up to May 2006.
Branch officials started gathering at the headquarters in Jalan Ipoh as early as noon but Samy Vellu only arrived at 1.30pm after offering prayers at the Sithi Vinayar Temple in Jalan Ipoh.
This is the first time the contest for the president’s post has been held separate from the contests for the other posts, following an amendment to the party constitution to allow branch chairmen and central working committee members to participate in the elections.
Previously, the president was elected with the other main office-bearers at the party’s general assembly by the over 1,500 delegates.
A visibly moved Samy Vellu thanked party members for their overwhelming support and described his win as a victory for the Indian community.
“I am very touched by their confidence. I will continue to fight for the rights of the Indian community with vigour,'' he said.
Samy Vellu said his priorities were to bring more progress and change to the Indian community to ensure that it was on par with the other communities.
“I am not interested in winning laurels. All I want is for the community to be united and respected by all, including the other races,” he said.
V. CHANDRASEKARAN reports from Sungai Petani that five out of 10 MIC division chiefs in Kedah will be challenged in the party elections scheduled on March 21.
Of the five divisions, Padang Serai, Kulim/Bandar Baharu, Kuala Kedah and Langkawi will see straight fights while Merbok will be involved in a four-cornered fight.
Padang Serai chairman Datuk S. Parasuraman, who is also state MIC secretary, will take on M.L. Muthusamy while Kulim/Bandar Baharu division chief S. Muniandy will face S. Ananthan.
Kuala Kedah division chief R. Kannusamy will be challenged by R. Vadamalai while Langkawi division chief S. Narayanadass faces T. Manoharan in another straight fight.
In the Merbok, division chief A. Arumugam will see a challenge from P. Jaganathan, S. Letchumanan and M.P. Masilamani.
State MIC chairman Datuk V. Saravanan, who is also state Health, Unity, Social Welfare and Indian Affairs committee chairman, was returned unopposed in his Sungai Petani division.
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