Malaysian Indian Congress appoints new secretary general

Singapore, May 15 (IANS) A. Sakthivel, a 43-year-old chemical engineer, has been appointed the new secretary general of the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) after Datuk S. Murugesan resigned from the post Tuesday.

After being informed about his appointment by MIC president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel’s press secretary, Sakthivel said he would do whatever it takes to take the party to greater heights, Malaysian media reported Wednesday.

“I will do whatever it takes to bring the party to greater heights. There’s a lot that needs to be to repaired and made better,” the Malaysian Star newspaper quoted him as saying.

Murugesan’s resignation and Sakthivel’s appointment come fresh on the heels of the MIC’s dismal performance in that southeast Asian country’s general elections May 5.

Despite high expectations, the party won four parliamentary seats, the same number it held prior to the polls, and five state seats, down from seven it held earlier.

The MIC is one of the three major constituents of Malaysia’s ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, the other two being the United Malays National Organisation and the Malaysian Chinese Association.

Sathivel, who is also MIC’s Puchong division chief and a member of the Central Working Committee of the party, said that the party needed to focus on young voters and people-centric issues.

“MIC won four out of nine parliamentary seats and five out of 18 state seats in May 5. This must be improved in the next general election,” he was quoted as saying.

Sakthivel lost the Kapar parliamentary seat in the Malaysian state of Selangor in this month’s general elections.

Murugesan resigned Tuesday after he lost the Kota Raja parliamentary seat in Selangor in the elections.

“The time has come for me to step down and to allow others to continue with the process of rebuilding the party,” he said after tendering his resignation.

The MIC had come come under severe criticism from various quarters after its depressing show in the elections with some suggesting that the party should start grooming younger leaders to lead it in the future.

In this year’s polls, several MIC candidates lost to Malaysian Indian candidates from other parties.

Formed in 1946, MIC is one of the oldest political parties in that country.

Ethnic Indians comprise a little over seven percent of Malaysia’s total population of nearly 30 million.

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