Malaysian Indian Congress open to merger

Singapore, May 27 (IANS) Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) president G. Palanivel has said that his party will discuss merger with political parties representing Indians in Malaysia or those with a large number of ethnic Indians as members.

These parties include the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), the Indian Progressive Front (IPF), Malaysian Indian United Party (MIUP) and Makkal Sakthi, local media reported Monday.

“The proposal for the merger of these parties was raised at the meeting of the MIC central working committee on Friday,” Palanivel was quoted as saying after declaring open the 51st general meeting of the Malaysia Tamil Writers Association in Kuala Lumpur Sunday.

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.

It is the only Indian representative in the coalition.

According to the MIC president, the idea behind such a merger is to serve the interests of the Indian community in Malaysia for the 14th general elections in that country.

The MIC won just four parliamentary seats in the 13th general elections held May 5, the same number it held prior to the polls, and five state seats, down from seven it held earlier.

One report, quoting a party source, said that Palanivel had, in a party meeting, said that he wanted to open talks with IPF chief M. Sambanthan.

While the MIC has 500,000 members, the IPF has 135,000 members.

According to the source, Palanivel is willing to give Sambanthan a senate seat from MIC’s quota in the country’s parliament.

“The intention is for both parties to remain as a single voice of Indian Malaysians. The MIC and the IPF have established a long-time cordial relationship,” the source, said to be a party veteran, was quoted as saying.

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

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