KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu yesterday stepped down as MIC president after holding the post for 31 years, and handed it over to his deputy Datuk G Palanivel.
The 74-year-old former Works Minister told a press conference after chairing his last Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting that vice-president and Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S Subramaniam had been appointed as deputy president.
He said the decision on Palanivel as the eighth party president and Dr Subramaniam as his deputy was made by the CWC in accordance with Article 63 of the MIC constitution.
The Article states: “The deputy president shall in the absence of the president, act for the president and perform such functions as are normally exercised by the president. He shall chair the CWC meeting in the absence of the president.”
Samy Vellu took over the MIC leadership in 1979 after the death of its sixth president Tan Sri V Manickavasagam.
Palanivel, 61, the Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, was Samy Vellu’s former press secretary.
Samy Vellu said he made the decision (to step down) to make way for his successor to make sufficient preparations, especially in facing the 13th general election, although his term would only end in March 2012.
“I have already submitted a letter on my stepping down as party president to the CWC today (yesterday). My decision is effective today, Dec 6,” he said, calmly.
Samy Vellu said although he had stepped down as MIC president, he was still a party member and would continue to contribuite his services to the Indian community and country.
“I am confident the combined leadership of Palanivel and Dr Subramaniam will be good for MIC in looking after the interest and well-being of the party members and the Indian community,” he said.
Samy Vellu took the opportunity to thank all the CWC members, the divisional and branch leaders and all party members who had cooperated and supported him in helming MIC for almost 31 years.
“I would also like to thank Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and the deputy prime minister (Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin) for all the assistance, support and cooperation they gave me in leading MIC,” he said.
He also expressed his appreciation for all Malaysians and the mass media who had given him encouragement and support in carrying out his duties.
Asked about his feelings on leaving the party, with a smile, Samy Vellu said he felt happy that he was leaving his job to Palanivel.
“Nothing is difficult for me. I am very happy that I have handed over the power to Palanivel. I have cleared my head in the last 10 days because I know the time has come that there should be a leadership change.
“I don’t think life has ended yet, because there are too many things to do. To me, stepping down as MIC president doesn’t mean I can’t help the Indian community. I will help if there is an election, to see that we achieve our objective of winning the seats given to MIC,” he said.
Asked what would be his immediate plans after this and whether he was taking up a role as ambassador, Samy Vellu said this was for the prime minister to decide.
“I don’t play golf, but I will sit down and organise my MIED (Maju Institute of Educational Development) office because I am still the chairman of MIED. Whenever Palanivel or Dr Subramaniam calls for any help, I will be there to help them,” he added.
He also advised the CWC members to listen to the new president and to immediately approve any good proposal made by Palanivel, so that he could do his job without any obstruction. — Bernama