Thursday, April 24, 2008


(this is an extract from mi1 blog, would like to thank the author for the research)

1st MIC President - John Aloysius Thivy

MIC started as Malayan Indian Congress in August 1946. Its founding president

John Aloysius Thivy was a lawyer who studied in London. When he was

studying in London he met Mahatma Gandhi and was inspired by Gandhi’s

determination to fight for India’s Independence. On his return to M


after getting his law degree in 1932, he became actively involved

in Indian nationalist movements.

In 1947 India won its independence and in January 1948,

John Aloysius Thivy became the first official appointed by

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (India’s first prime minister),

to represent the Indian Republic in Southeast Asia.

2nd MIC President – Sardar Budh Singh

The baton of MIC presidency then passed on to Sardar Budh Singh whose

term as the 2nd President of MIC was from 1947 to 1950. The sentiment of the

party during this period takes the path of anti-colonialism.

3rd MIC President – K. Ramanathan

Mr. K. Ramanathan. MIC’s third president, from 1950 to1951, the main issue

during his tenure was citizenship issue. But this guy had the opinion that all

Malayan Indians will earn their money in Malaya and

go back to India to lead normal lives.

4th MIC President – Kundan Lal Devaser

In 1951, the Fifth Annual Conference of MIC was held in Johor Bahru. This is

when Kundan Lal Devaser

, a lawyer of Northern Indian origin succeded K

Ramanathan as the 4th President of Malayan Indian Cong

ress. K.L. Devaser

helmed MIC from 1951 to May 1955. It was during his period that MIC started

focusing on the fight for Malayan independence. Under his presidency, MIC had

contested in the 1952 Kuala Lumpur Municipal Elections in partnership with the

Independence of Malaya Party (IMP) under Dato’ Onn bin Jaa

far and other noncommunal

organisations against the Alliance.

Note: Dato’ Onn Jaafar is the founding president of United Malays National

Organisation (UMNO) on May 1st 1946. Being a far sighted visionary and an

idealist, he subsequently became disillusioned with what he considered UMNO’s

communalist policies. He called for party membershi

p to be opened to all Malayans

regardsless of race,and for UMNO to be renamed as the

United Malayans National Organisation. When his reccommendation

was bitterly opposed by hardline elements in UMNO, he left the party

on August 26th 1951, to form the Independence of Malaya party.

If only his vision was adhered to, Malaysia would n

ow be a

better place

with less friction between the races and more emphasis

would have been shown on the

idea of a Malaysian race in place of rampant communalism

we see today.

5th MIC President – Tun V. T. Sambanthan

Sambanthan Thirunyana s/o Veerasamy, better known as Tun V.T.

Sambanthan, then a state MIC leader, emerged during this

period as an

alternative candidate for the party leadership.

At the Ninth Annual MIC Conference that was held in Teluk Anson (Teluk Intan),

Perak in May 1955, Tun V.T. Sambanthan was elected as the fifth President of

the Malayan Indian Congress. His term in office was from 1955 to 1973. Going by

historical records, he was literally coerced into taking

up the


Sambanthan took over the mantle of the MIC during a period of turmoil in the party in 1955, barely

months before the first federal elections, and over time strengthened the party and consolidated its

position in the coalition. He did not always please his

members, but was able to gradually unite a party

that had considerable internal splits. Following negotiations w

ith the Alliance leaders, the MIC was

allocated two seats – in Batu Pahat, Johor, and Sg. Siput, Perak. Sambanthan contested the Sg. Siput

seat and won comfortably. The Alliance swept 51 of the 52 seats, the exception being a seat in Perak.

Following the election win, Sambanthan was appoint

ed to the Cabinet and sworn in as Labour Minister in

the Alliance government.

As president of a party that was a component of the ruling Al

liance Party, he was appointed Minister of

Labour (1955-57), Health (1957-59), Works, Posts and Telecommunications (1959-71) and National Unity


[MIC only officially became known as Malaysian Indian Congress, after the formation of the Federation of Malaysia in 1963.]

In the early 1970s, internal pressure was applied on Sambanthan to resign but he resisted, leading to a

coup against him. Five senior leaders of MIC openly defied Sambanthan and played a key role in

persuading then Deputy MIC president, V. Manickavasagam to go for the presidency. One of the five

leaders is; Samy Vellu . In March 1973, Tun Abdul Razak nego


a deal with Sambanthan who agreed to quit on J

une 30, 1973.

6th MIC President – Tan Sri V. Manickavasagam

Tan Sri V. Manickavasagam officially became MIC’s president on 30th June 1973

and remained in office till he died on 12th October 1979. He was also appointed

as Minister for Communications. Under Manickavasagam, the party secretariat

was reconstituted with Indian civil servants, professionals and academics

dominating the policy committees. Representatives from state MIC and local

branches were excluded from the central committees

. This exclusion was made

on the grounds that their petty rivalries and divisive elements would have

threatened the deliberations taking place in the headquarters.

The fear of challenges from within the party probably would have moved

Manickavasagam to assume complete authority and alienate state and branch

leaders thereby preventing a challenge similar to the o

ne he made on Sambanthan.

Hence, the state and branch leaders were left with little influence on decisions making.

A further weakness that crept into the MIC under Manickavasagam was nepotism. The president

introduced his brothers into important posts in the party. For example, his brother V.L. Kandan was

variously MIC Youth leader (1975), appointed to the

state executive council in 1974, and elected member

of the state legislative assembly in Selangor.

During Manickavasagam’s rule, MIC had two ministers in the government. Manickavasagam was the

Minister for Communications and the other minister was Athi Nahappan.

In addition to this, Manickavasagam brought in new faces to the forefront: This was the time when Datuk

S. Subramaniam, Datuk K. Pathmanaban (a Harvard MBA holder), and several others entered the

political arena, and Manickavasagam gave them preference.

Manickavasagam had personally maneuvered Subramaniam’s nomination to MIC Central Working

Committee (CWC) in July 1973 and later to the post of Secretary General of MIC. Subramaniam’s

position in the party was built with support from the p

rofessional groups, the youth movement, and the

estates in Perak. Under political patronage from then Prime Minister, Tun Hussein Onn, Subramaniam

rose rapidly in the government from Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Labour and Manpower

after the 1974 elections, to Deputy Minister for Local Government and Federal Territory in January in


Subramaniam’s rise caused jealousy and resentment in Samy Vellu and his faction; thus, strong

opposition to Manickavasagam was brewing. MIC was once again plunged into a bitter power struggle.

Senator Athi Nahappan, the deputy president and strong supporter of Manickavasagam, acted as a

peacemaker during this turbulent time. His death in May 1976, robbed Manickavasagam of an important

force of stability. Fearing that Samy Vellu would b

e a strong candidate for the vacant position,

Manickavasagam attempted to delay the election of a successor to Athi Nahappan. However, by 1977,

further delay had become impossible. Still determined to thwart Samy Vellu, Manickavasagam brought

forth his own candidate.

S. Subramaniam was hand-picked by Manickavasagam to succeed him; however, Samy Vellu fought

back, literally, and in a closely fought contest in 19

77, Samy Vellu defeated Subramaniam by a mere 26

votes to become the Deputy President of MIC.

7th MIC President – Dato Seri S. Samy Vellu

Samy Vellu s/o Sangalimuthu, better known as S. Samy Vellu; is the longest

serving president of the MIC.

Samy Vellu; the eldest of three children, was born in June 20, 1936 to rubber

tappers Sangalimuthu and Anggamah at the Rengo Malay Estate near Kluang,

Johor. His father, who had arrived from India in 1919, moved between estates in

search of better wages and was working as a labourer at the coal mines in Batu

Arang, Selangor when the war ended.

Sangalimuthu later sold coconuts, fish and mutton at the Batu Arang market while his son Samy Vellu

went to various Tamil schools. After his mother's death in 1950, he left to Kuala Lumpur with his father.

There, he began work as a bus conductor with G.T.C. transport company, a forerunner to Syarikat Sri

Jaya (The blue colored bus with white stripes as the elder generation of KL will remember).

He and some friends formed a theatre group that staged dramas in estates and small towns. The group's

leading actors were Samy Vellu and V. Govindaraj (now Datuk V. Govindaraj). One of their earliest and

most successful dramas was entitled Nattpu (Friendship).

In 1959, a year before he got married, he and Govindaraj joined the Batu Caves MIC branch as ordinary

members. Samy Vellu was 23, and winning the MIC presidency was his ultimate objective. (It took him

20 years to reach the top). Five years after joining the party, he was elected Selangor MIC committee

member and the head of the party's cultural bureau.

During the Indonesian Confrontation, he made headlines by climbing up the Indonesian Embassy's flag

pole, pulling down the flag and burning it. "I was charged in court and fined RM25," Samy Vellu later said.

Malaysian newspapers called him Hero Malaysia on the front pages.

Samy Vellu became a household name after he became a newscaster in the Tamil news of Radio

Television Malaysia (RTM), through the assistance of his friend Durairaju, the head of RTM’s Tamil

section. He would continue to read Tamil news over RTM from 1963 until he became a Member of

Parliament in 1974. Samy Vellu used this popularity to garner votes, and eventually, after five futile

attempts, won the Selangor MIC's secretary post on the sixth attempt, trumping V.J. Balasundram by 13

votes in 1967. Samy Vellu was 31 then.

In the early 1970s, he became the main instigator for the coup against Tun V.T Sambanthan, and then

fought against the next president Manickavasagam as highlighted earlier.

On 12th October 1979, Samy Vellu’s ambition of becoming the president of MIC became a reality after

Manickavasagam’s death. The new president came under considerable pressure to advance

Subramanian to the vacant seat of Port Klang that used to be Manickavasagam’s constituency. But

Samy Vellu resisted the pressure and nominated his own protégé, V.Govindaraju.

Upon assuming the presidency, Samy Vellu moved rapidly in a brash manner, to purge the party of those

who had been loyal to Manickavasagam. In particular, he secured the fall of the late Manickavasagam’s

brother, Kandan, who held the position of MIC Youth leader. The rest is history, so till today samy rules the MIC.

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