Ever since last Dec 5, when the Registrar of Societies (ROS) ordered the MIC to hold fresh elections for its three vice-presidential and 23 Central Working Committee (CWC) posts within 90 days or face deregistration, not much has been done to resolve the various outstanding issues.
Political observers and party insiders are anticipating a massive uphill struggle for Malaysia’s largest Indian-based party to stay relevant in the community if it does not take immediate steps to set things right.
Associate Professor Dr Sivamurugan Pandian, political analyst at Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Faculty of Social Science, opined that this was the right time for the MIC leaders to close ranks and move forward to prove that the party still has the ability to serve the Indian community.
REINVIGORATE THE PARTY FAST
“For me, I see it as a chance for the party to revive itself… in fact to strengthen itself and bring about unity so that the people can see that the MIC is capable of bouncing back fast,” he told Bernama recently.
After having met the ROS’ requirement, he said, the party could embark on planning for the future, and even work on creating a new wave of leadership and new a branding, following which it could focus on the actual struggle of the party.
The ROS had issued the re-election order following complaints of abuse of power and misconduct at the party elections in November 2013, which violated the party constitution and the Societies Act 1966.
The ROS had also on Dec 5 directed the party to hold fresh elections in eight divisions, namely Bayan Baru, Bukit Gelugor, Subang, Bandar Baru Kulim, Taiping, Tambun, Sepang and Jasin within 60 days.
It also ordered fresh polls to be held within 30 days for the Batu Kawan division deputy chairman, Kota Raja division chairman, Tanjung Malim division chairman and Taman Koperasi Polis branch chairman posts.
Two branches, Merlimau Utara and Rumah Pangsa Pekeliling Selatan, were also ordered to hold fresh polls within 30 days.
However, on Jan 6, the party CWC obtained an extension of time from the ROS to conduct the re-election at the Merlimau Utara branch but the period of extension was not stated.
On the ROS order to the MIC to hold fresh polls, Sivamurugan said if the party did not agree with it, then it should waste no time in challenging the order in court.
“If it intends to follow the directive, it should take immediate steps to hold fresh polls to prevent members and observers from having a negative perception of the party,” he said.
Following the order from the ROS, party president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel had established a special joint committee comprising Palanivel and his deputy Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, five of the complainants who had reported irregularities in the earlier party polls to the ROS, and five other members.
Sivamurugan said the MIC should act immediately as it had already formed a committee to look into the outstanding issues.
“The DAP had also previously been issued with an order by the ROS to conduct fresh elections and the party obliged immediately as it knew that if the re-election was delayed, the party’s future could be jeopardised,” he pointed out.
LET THE GRASSROOTS DECIDE
Former MIC secretary-general and deputy Dewan Rakyat speaker D.P. Vijandran said the MIC was in grave danger if it failed to resolve its internal crisis and return the power to the grassroots.
He also cautioned that even if the MIC could solve the party polls issue, the leaders should realise that whilst they were busy focusing on the internal squabbles, the support from the people had literally faded.
Describing the party’s structural problem as one the factors that had caused the party to be thrown into disarray, he said: “It is all about who wants to be a king (a position).
“I am not saying everyone does that but most of them do… they are so into finding the crown that they don’t realise they had lost their kingdom,” he said.
Citing Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s call for all Indian political parties to unite and work together, Vijandran said the Indians were speaking in too many voices, resulting in them going in various directions without taking a clear united stand.
“All of them should unite and focus on how to win support from the people. The leaders should not be so engrossed with their positions that they can’t see that they have lost the (support of the) Indian community,” he said.