MIC group to press RoS for fresh party elections

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PETALING JAYA: Following numerous complaints about the manner in which MIC party polls were carried out last year, the Registrar of Societies (RoS) is expected to order a re-election for the party’s posts.

It is learnt that officers investigating the complaints have concluded that a re-election is the only way to resolve the issue.

The re-election is expected to be held as there were many discrepancies in the elections for the divisional, vice-president and central working committee (CWC) posts.

MIC secretary-general A Prakash Rao said the party had been cooperating with the RoS in their investigation but denied receiving any letter from the RoS calling for a re-election.

He said there had been much talk among party members that the RoS had already ordered re-elections.

“All we have received are letters asking for information related to the polls. However, if they order us to hold them again, we will definitely do so,” said Rao.

He said party president Datuk Seri G Palanivel had declared that the party was ready for a re-election and  members should just wait for the RoS to make its decision.

However, due to a delay in the final decision from the RoS, some 2,000 MIC branch chairmen and other leaders are expected to converge into Putrajaya today to express their dissatisfaction over alleged irregularities in the party’s elections.

The group, led by prominent party leaders, has been galvanising support from party members to put pressure on the RoS to act on the complaints sent to it.

The complaints started streaming to the RoS soon after the polls were held on Nov 30 last year.

The group is expected to gather at 2pm to hand over a memorandum to the RoS and also to the Prime Minister’s Office, with the hope that re-elections will be held.

A leader of the group, Datuk T Mohan, who lost his bid for one of the three vice-president’s posts, said the RoS had been quiet on the status of its investigations despite repeated requests for a decision.

Other prominent names in the group are Senator Datuk S A Vigneswaran, former Kedah chief S Ananthan, Datuk Henry Benedict Asirvatham from Penang, Datuk R S Maniam from Selangor and M Asojan from Johor.

Among the allegations sent to the RoS are that the number of delegates at the party’s general assembly exceeded the maximum of 1,500 allowed under the constitution.

It is alleged that the party’s registry indicated a total of 1,539 delegates.

Apart from this, it is claimed that more than 300 branches were set up last year although the party’s constitution forbids the setting up of any new branch in an election year.

It is also claimed that some branches “mysteriously” increased their membership, giving them more delegates at the general assembly.

During the elections, several bankrupts were found to have contested in divisional polls.

In the case of the Kota Raja division in Selangor, the winner of the division chief’s post was reported to be a bankrupt and later disqualified.

However, instead of holding a re-election for the post, as required under RoS rules, the party appointed the deputy chief as the division chief.

In the national level polls, it is said that 30 delegates from the Putera and Puteri wings were not allowed to vote despite provisions for this in the constitution.

In the election for the vice-president posts, there were 1,396 ballots in the first count but this increased to 1,424 ballots during the recount, the complainants said.

Complaints to the RoS included the failure of the election committee to strictly observe the processes approved by the party.

The alleged failures included lapses in preparations to count the votes in front of the candidates’ agents and in opening the ballot boxes in front of the agents.

Mohan said many police reports and complaints had been sent to the RoS but there seemed to be little progress, which he fears may be due to political pressures faced by the RoS.

He said the evidence had showed that numerous rules were broken during the party polls and as such, there should be a re-election.

Mohan said the memorandum will call for the RoS to declare the results of the elections for the three vice- presidents and the CWC members as null and void, the general assembly on Dec 1 last year as invalid because of the increased number of delegates, and for a re-election to be held.

According to Mohan, party members have been waiting for almost a year for something to be done to save the party and hope the wait will end soon.

“The RoS was quick in investigating the DAP and also PKR. So the delay of almost one year is unacceptable. It needs to make a decision fast,” he said.

However, Mohan dismissed any suggestion the gathering was a move against party president Palanivel.

“We are doing everything by the book. We have informed the president, the party secretary-general, the police, the RoS and also the PM’s Department of our intentions,” he said.

Commenting on the party, former CWC member Madhu Marimuthu said it had gone into a slumber after the party polls and hoped the gathering would rejuvenate the MIC.

“There are a lot of rumblings on the ground and we cannot ignore them. To stay relevant, we have to do this and hopefully it will give the party a new lease of life,” said Madhu.

He said complaints against the leadership had been mounting, but ruled out a movement to oust Palanivel.

“We have decided that no such movement should be launched. Instead we will tackle one issue at a time. If we decide to have a movement similar to the Gerakan Anti Samy Vellu (GAS), there will be no end to it,” said Madhu.

However, several other leaders are in favour of such a movement.

A senior leader described Palanivel as a president who was not grassroots-friendly as he did not meet them often, rarely attended functions and was not media-friendly.

“Other Indian-based parties like Makkal Sakthi are now more prominent. We are disappearing in the eyes of Indians here. Something must be done before it is too late. Palanivel does not seem to have a vision for the party. Even if he does, he is surely keeping it to himself,” the leader said.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on October 16, 2014.