(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
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
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.