KUALA LUMPUR • The rivalry between the two opposing factions in the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) descended into violence during the presidential nominations, when hundreds of supporters from both sides verbally abused and threw missiles at one another at the party headquarters.
Former MIC president G. Palanivel and his erstwhile deputy S. Subramaniam are involved in a leadership tussle, with both of them claiming to be in charge of the component party of Malaysia's ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.
In June, Datuk Seri Palanivel announced his then deputy's suspension, but Datuk Seri Dr Subramaniam declared that he was taking over as acting president until re-elections were carried out.
The faction that aligned with Mr Palanivel tried to break into the compound of the headquarters building on Friday, while supporters of Dr Subramaniam, who were already inside, pushed them back at the gate.
Several people were injured when objects, including sticks, stones, water packs and even traffic cones, were flung into the air.
The group outside the compound dispersed only about an hour later, after they had failed to break through the entrance.
It was a different scene inside the party building, as Dr Subramaniam coolly submitted his nomination paper. Two hours later, he emerged as the new party president, when the returning officer announced that Dr Subramaniam had the support of more than 2,500 of 2,800 branches nationwide.
"I accept this support, and I have a high awareness of my responsibility in these challenging times," said Dr Subramaniam afterwards.
His victory was denounced yesterday by Mr Palanivel, who called the branch nominations "illegal".
"I am the only valid president, however much Dr Subramaniam howls otherwise," he said.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK