MIC president 'loses post' in faction tussle

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) deputy president Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, who is embroiled in a leadership tussle with party chief Datuk Seri Palanivel Govindasamy, has declared that Mr Palanivel no longer holds any position and has ceased to be an MIC member as confirmed by a special party assembly.

Speaking to reporters after he held the rally at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, Dr Subramaniam said elections for all party posts would be held next month, The Star reported.

Mr Palanivel's removal, he said, was a result of the president's actions to wage a court battle to challenge the Registrar of Societies' (RoS) directive calling on it to hold a re-election of its 2013 internal polls, citing irregularities.

Mr Palanivel, who is also the Environment Minister, chose to contest the directive in court, but the High Court decided against him last week.

Dr Subramaniam's announcement came a day after Mr Palanivel held a rally for his faction at the same venue, insisting that the vote was still valid and fresh polls to affirm the current leadership would be held in August.

Dr Subramaniam said 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).

"Despite this, he went to court without prior consultation of the CWC. Therefore, we have to agree that his membership has ceased," he said.

He said this was one of the two resolutions adopted by the assembly - made up of his faction of MIC branch chairmen and chiefs.

The second resolution was to abide by the RoS directive to conduct re-elections and uphold the court findings that Mr Palanivel and four others had filed their judicial review against the RoS decision in their individual capacities and not on behalf of the party.

Responding to Dr Subramaniam's move, lawyer J. Chandra - who is representing Mr Palanivel in his judicial review proceedings against the RoS - said yesterday his client was still the legally elected party president as he had not violated the MIC constitution.

He said Article 91 only prevented any member from going to court to challenge the party's CWC on his rights, obligations, duties and privileges, the Malaysian Insider reported.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2015, with the headline 'MIC president 'loses post' in faction tussle'. Subscribe