Dynastic rule, factionalism ail Malaysia’s Indian parties


Kuala Lumpur : Factionalism, family domination and personality clashes ail the Malaysian political parties representing the two million-strong Indian community, says a media report.

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The Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), the largest and the oldest of them all, may witness family domination as the party’s long-time supreme, S. Samy Vellu, prepares to step down later this year.

While his son S. Vell Paari may contest the vice-presidency, there is speculation that a cousin may also seek high office in the party, The New Straits Times said Tuesday.

S.P. Muthuveloo, son of Samy Vellu’s older brother, is said to be eyeing the youth chief post, but the 38-year-old lawyer has yet to announce his intentions.

The post fell vacant after S.A. Vigneswaran resigned last year after a spat with Samy Vellu.

Last week, another long-time chief of Peoples Progressive Party, M. Kayveas, was ‘expelled’ and a faction of the party ‘elected’ T. Murgiah, a deputy minister in the prime minister’s office.

“As of today, he’s a deputy minister without a party. He’s on his own,” he said, adding that Murugiah’s government post would be dealt with after PPP’s annual general assembly June 7.

“If he does any more damage to the party, there are provisions in the Societies Act to deal with him.”

Both MIC and PPP are constituents of the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional.

Indian Progressive Front (IPF) was formed after its chief, M.G. Pandithan, an old MIC stalwart, fell out with Samy Vellu.

There was no rapproachement between the two till Pandithan died last year.

He was succeeded by his wife, Puan Sri Jayashree Pandithan. But the IPF has since split into four factions.

One of the four factions which claims to lead the Indian Progressive Front (IPF) led by M.V. Mathiyalagan Monday announced that his group would hold a general body meeting and organise elections June 21.

“I am now the party’s acting president,” The Star quoted him as saying.

He said Jayashree Pandithan, who had been proclaimed leader following the death of her husband, could contest.

“But she must prove that she is a party member. Our records show that she is not a member of any of our branches.”

Mathiyalagan said the same applied to the other faction leaders.

The other faction leaders are V. Senggutuan, the deputy president, and K. Panjamurthi, who leads a faction known as the United IPF.

Jayashree had suspended 12 central working committee members, including Senggutuan and Mathiyalagan, after she took control of the party.

The disgruntled members turned to the courts but the judge ruled that it could not interfere in party matters.