MIC leader claims rival is no longer party member

PETALING JAYA - The Registrar of Societies (RoS) in Malaysia has declared that Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) president G. Palanivel is no longer a member of the party, according to deputy president S. Subramaniam.

The two are involved in a leadership tussle, with both of them claiming to be in charge of the party.

Last week, Datuk Seri Palanivel announced his deputy's suspension, but Datuk Seri Subramaniam declared that he was taking over as acting president until re-elections are carried out.

The dispute stemmed from contentious party polls held in November 2013. RoS had nullified the results and ordered the party to hold fresh polls.

Mr Palanivel and four others in the party then took legal action against RoS. But they failed to obtain an interim stay against a court ruling which upheld RoS' directive for re-elections.

Dr Subramaniam said yesterday that RoS sent a letter addressed to the party's Central Working Committee, which said that as per Article 91 of the MIC Constitution, Mr Palanivel was no longer a member of the party.

Article 91 of the party Constitution stated that no party matters could be taken to court without the consent of the Central Working Committee (CWC). Mr Palanivel had not consulted the committee before taking legal action.

"RoS has also recognised that consequent to this, Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam will function in the capacity of acting president to lead the CWC... to conduct the re-elections of the MIC as per the RoS decision," Dr Subramaniam's statement said.

Last week, Dr Subramaniam announced that branch elections will be held next month, and the whole process will be completed by October.

Mr Palanivel, meanwhile, said the party will hold its branch election starting August and called for the support of all 300 branches to back him as their leader - which throws up the possibility that there will be two separate party elections.

MIC is a component party of the ruling Barisan Nasional, but BN leaders have largely stayed out of the issue.

Last week, Prime Minister Najib Razak asked Mr Palanivel to stop blaming him and other people for the party's internal conflict.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 26, 2015, with the headline 'MIC leader claims rival is no longer party member'. Print Edition | Subscribe