Jul 17 2013, 7:06am CDT | by Luigi Lugmayr
Singapore, July 17 — The Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) has dropped two of its members from the party's central working committee (CWC), including the party's strategic director S. Vell Paari, and replaced them with two other leaders.
The other member to be dropped is Usha Nandini, leader of the party branch at Puteri in the Malaysian state of Melaka.
Vell Paari and Nandini are being replaced by S. Sothinathan and Sunthar Subramaniam, respectively, according to the statement issued by Palanivel.
While Sothinathan is a former party vice-president, Subramaniam is chairman of the party's branch at Seputih in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.
Nandini will, however, continue to be an observer within the CWC.
The action comes ahead of the party's organisational elections scheduled to be held later this year.
Formed in 1946, the MIC is one of the oldest political parties in Malaysia. It 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.
The party last held its organisational elections in 2009, when S. Samy Vellu was elected president for a record 11th consecutive time.
He stepped down in 2010 and Palanivel took over as acting president.
In this year's general elections in the country, despite high expectations, the party did not fare well at the hustings, managing just four parliamentary seats, the same number it held prior to the polls, and five state seats, down from seven it held earlier.
Media reports Wednesday cited party insiders as saying that Palanivel took the action in order to boost his position in the party ahead of the elections and also because of Vell Paari's outspokenness and strong criticism of certain party activities.
Vell Paari had in an interview to the Malaysian Star earlier this week said that the organisational elections will see a direct face-off between Palanivel and party deputy president S. Subramaniam for the party president's post.
In another development on the back of Palanivel's announcement, Vell Paari said that he would run for the party vice-president's post in the upcoming elections.
Vell Paari is the son of former MIC president S. Samy Vellu.
Ethnic Indians comprise a little over seven percent of Malaysia's total population of nearly 30 million.
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