KUALA LUMPUR: Former MIC deputy president Datuk S. Subra-maniam has picked the theme “Change for the Better” for his campaign to regain his former post, saying that the party needs reforms to reposition itself as the voice of the Indian community.
“In the past, MIC was the umbrella for most Indian Malaysians and represented the aspirations and well-being of the Indian community, but see what the situation is today.
“There are so many parties representing them,” he said.
Subramaniam said there was a need to bring greater freedom of expression in the party and “tolerate and accept differing opinions.”
His rival for the No. 2 post, vice-president Datuk S. Sothinathan, said the party needed to act fast in order to remain relevant to the Indian community.
“There are complaints and frustrations among the grassroots over the lack of empowerment, transparency and good governance. The call for drastic change is deafening,” he said.
The 49-year-old Sothinathan was a former protege of MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu. He fell out of favour with the party supremo for going against his advice not to contest the deputy presidency.
He is challenging incumbent Datuk G. Palanivel, 58, and Subramaniam, 64, for the post on Sept 12.
Samy Vellu is backing Palanivel for the post.
Sothinathan, a former deputy minister who once served as the secretary-general of the party, said the Indian community had always been in the forefront of nation-building with the party as the driving force.
“But all that changed after March 2008 and we are now faced with new challenges and demands from Malaysian Indians.
“We are now being challenged and questioned by the very community which we claim to represent,” he said, adding that he had decided to contest for deputy presidency as it was pointless to remain as vice-president without helping to rejuvenate the party.