Anticipation builds as MIC party elections approach

TN Alagesh

KUANTAN: MIC’s elections to select a new leadership line-up next month is highly-anticipated following the party’s dismal performance in the 14th general election (GE14).

In a bid to revive the confidence of the Indian community in the party, several current office bearers have decided not to seek re-election to pave the way for new faces to be part of the leadership.

Former MIC vice-president Tan Sri SA Vigneswaran who was the sole nominee in the presidential election in June, got the ball rolling after he won the post uncontested, replacing Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam, who chose not to defend his post.

Talk is also rife that several aspiring new faces are gunning to replace the party’s office-bearers, with many old hands choosing to retire and not to re-contest.

A party insider said Datuk SK Devamany will not defend the deputy president post; and Datuk S Saravanan, a former vice-president who lost to Devamany in the party polls in 2015, is likely to throw his hat into the ring, especially as he is one of just two MIC members who won their respective parliamentary seats in the GE14.

The insider said Devamany is retiring, while another possible candidate – Central Working Committee member Datuk S Sothinathan – is no longer with the party, which leaves Saravanan with a chance to helm the deputy post.

“The GE14 outcome served as a severe blow to the party, and some candidates who initially planned to seek re-election have chosen not to. The newly-appointed president is aware that a formidable and trustworthy line-up will be able to strengthen the party and Indian community.

“Those going for positions in the party are well aware of the current situation, which is very different from the days when Barisan Nasional was in power. The last few months have been quiet, and once the new line-up is announced in October, MIC is expected to make several plans and move aggressively,” the source added.

Being one of the oldest political parties in the country, the source said that MIC’s new office bearers’ concern will be how to reform the party and not use their positions to secure tickets to contest in the next general election.

Meanwhile, another source said it is still too early to speculate on possible candidates in the party polls, as the aspiring candidates have yet to openly make their announcements.

“The division elections were completed earlier this month, and next will be the Youth, Wanita, Putera and Puteri wing nominations, followed by elections on Sept 15. The new national-level Youth, Wanita, Putera and Puteri chiefs and their deputies will be announced on Sept 15,” he said.

While former vice-president Datuk Jaspal Singh will not be seeking re-election for the new term, current MIC vice-president Datuk T Mohan and MIC Youth chief Datuk C Sivarraajh are among those tipped for the three vice-president posts. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd