Pressure on Indian-origin politicians to quit


Prime VIP
Kuala Lumpur, June 20

Two of Malaysia's veteran Indian politicians are being nudged to quit their top party posts ahead of the 2013 elections. Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has said he wants new leaders to take over constituent parties.

S. Samy Vellu, who heads the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) since 1979, had retained his post despite the party faring badly in the March 2008 elections and losing his own parliamentary seat. The case is the same with M. Kayveas, who has been chief of the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) for the last 17 years. Sections of their partymen are exerting pressure on them to quit before the 2013 elections.

The Barisan Nasional (BN), the ruling coalition of which they are constituents, is also adding pressure on them to quit. Prime Minister Razak, who heads the Barisan, wants new leaders to take over constituent parties to galvanise the alliance in time for the next polls.

Vellu announced his retirement last month, but gave himself 16 more months. He said he would quit in the third quarter of 2011, though his term ends May 2012. Before that, he has vowed to "destroy" what he calls "detractors of the party" -- a reference to his critics. Making a similar announcement last Sunday, Kayveas said he would step down as PPP president, but only "in a few years' time" setting his retirement date four years from now. 2015.

"The question that begs to be asked is why is there a need to wait for change to take place?" The Star newspaper said.

The announcement of retirement was expected ever since the PPP's drubbing in the 2008 polls with Kayveas himself losing the Taiping parliamentary constituency by a large margin of nearly 12,000 votes. — IANS