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Malaysian Indian Congress
Kongres India Se-Malaysia
Leader Samy Vellu
Founded August 1946
Headquarters Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Youth wing MIC Youth Movement
Ideology Nationalism, Conservatism, Social conservative, Moralist
National affiliation Barisan Nasional
Website
http://www.mic.org.my/

The Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC or Kongres India Se-Malaysia) (Tamil: மலேசியா இந்தியா காங்கிரெஸ்) is a Malaysian political party and is one of the founding members of the ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional, previously known as the Alliance, that has been in power since the country achieved independence in 1957.

The MIC was established in August 1946, at the end of World War II, to fight for Indian independence from British colonial rule. After India gained its independence, MIC involved itself in the struggle for the independence of Malaya (now Malaysia which was achieved in 1957. It positioned itself for representation on behalf of the Indian community in the post-war development of the country. The MIC joined the National Alliance comprising the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) and the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) in 1954 which became the Barisan Nasional in 1973 with further expansion in the number of component parties. The current head of the MIC is President Dato' Seri S. Samy Vellu.

Like the other racially based political parties in multi-racial Malaysia, membership in MIC is limited to ethnic Indians, the majority being Tamils descended from Indian migrants.

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At the outset, MIC was founded to represent the interests of ethnic Indians in Malaya, the majority of whom had been brought to the country from South India as indentured laborers by the British. The party's founder John A. Thivy (1946-1947) also sought to check social problems such as low literacy level, alcoholism and family violence faced by the Indian community. At the outset, the party was committed to positive inter-racial harmony and cooperation and obtaining a fair share of the economic cake for the Indian community.

It was the intense anti-British sentiment that made the MIC under the leadership of its second president Budh Singh (1947-1950) critical of the Malayan Union, which did not obtain Indian support.

Under its third president, K. Ramanathan was when the MIC contested in the 1952 Kuala Lumpur Municipal Elections in alliance with the multi-racial Independent Malayan Party (IMP) under Datuk Onn Jaafar and other non-communal organisations. However the results showed that the MIC’s attempt to preach and practise non-communalism would not prevail in Malayan politics when communalism was the winning factor.

In 1954, the MIC under its fourth leader K.L. Devaser (1951-1955) became the third partner in the Alliance with the Malay-based UMNO and the Malaysian Chinese-based MCA after realising that political alliances were fundamental to success in Malaysian politics of the time.

Under Tun V.T. Sambanthan who took over the party’s leadership as the fifth president (1955-1973) the party grew in membership and became a mass-based party, at the same time firmly entrenching itself as a partner of the Alliance. On August 31, 1957, Independence was achieved under the Merdeka Agreement, to which Sambanthan was a signatory.

One big challenge that the party faced during this time was the fragmentation of estates, that desrupted the livelihood of ordinary Indian workers. While the Malaysian government banned further fragmentation, the party sponsored the establishment of the National Land Finance Cooperative Society (NLFCS) comprising workers as members and used their periodic contributions to buy up whole estates.

During Tan Sri V. Manickavasagam's term as the sixth president, the MIC became part of Barisan Nasional. The party sponsored the Nesa Multipurpose Cooperative and the MIC Unit Trust as part of its programme for economic ventures, and also set up the MIC Education Fund for members’ children and the Malaysian Indian Scholarship for higher education.

Nevertheless, Samy Vellu, who is the longest serving leader of a mainstream Malaysian political party, having been MIC president since October 12, 1979 has not been without controversy, marked by allegations of corruption and a perceived decline in Malaysian Indian welfare.

In 2006, Samy Vellu successfully ousted his long-time deputy, Dato' S Subramaniam and replaced him with Dato G Palanivel. The process was done through the 2006 party elections.

List of presidents

Education welfare

More than 10,000 students have obtained loans and scholarships totalling about RM60mil in the past 20 years from the Maju Institute of Education Development (MIED) fund, the education arm of the MIC.

The party sponsored the Nesa Multipurpose Cooperative and the MIC Unit Trust as part of its programme for economic ventures, and also set up the MIC Education Fund for members’ children and the Malaysian Indian Scholarship for higher education.

Ninth Malaysia Plan

MIC as the main party representing Malaysian Indians, has succeeded in getting the government to make a statement that the government would help Indians to achieve 3% equity by the year 2020 in the business sector as a measure of equitable equity distribution, although the expectation was that the target ought to be achieved in the year 2010. No mechanism be had been identified so far on the achievement of the above object in the above plan.

Private university project

The Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology University (AIMST) is the major ongoing project by MIC. It has already commenced operations and is offering a range of science and technology-based programmes including Medicine. It was founded on March 15, 2001, by the Maju Institute of Educational Development (MIED), the educational arm of the MIC.

MIC and Malaysian Indians

As an ethnic political party like the many other parties in the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional, MIC claims to represent the Malaysian Indians for its part. However its effectiveness as a champion of Malaysian Indians is yet to be seen. Lack of skills in leadership, teamwork, finance, planning, project management and the previous failure of MIC sponsored RM 100 million MAIKA Holdings project and infighting among its leaders had cost the party and Indians dearly. Its records in social development and bringing progress to the Indians in the country has been feeble.

The MIC has been largely limited to have just one cabinet minister since the country obtained its independence in 1957 (except once during the presidency of Tun V.T Sambanthan), whereas the number of Chinese and Malay Ministers have been increasing ever since.

In the recent Ninth Malaysia Plan for example, while the MIC wanted to have a plan for Indians to achieve 3% equity in the business sector by 2010, the Malaysian Government responded with deferred target to be reached by the year 2020, with no specific action plans in place to make it possible. The number of Tamil schools have dwindled since independence. Destruction of Hindu temples on the basis of expansion of roads or illegal construction is commonplace while proper allocation of land for temple grounds or approval for temple building is an extreme rarity. University intake of Indian students, specially in professional courses, has been dwindling. No statistics available, even from the MIC, on the number of Indian children not enrolled in schools. Even the number of Tamil school teachers are inadequate. Lack of social and economic progress is also reflected in the increasing crime rate in the country prompting even the Police to comment that the Indian prison inmates are disproportionately high.

There is no clear vision or concerted action plan coming forth from the MIC on improving the Indians in the country. This was made all the more apparent when HINDRAF or Hindu Rights Action Force is a coalition of 30 Hindu Non-Governmental organizations organized a rally on Sunday, 25 November 2007 to submit the petition at the British High Commission stating their dissafaction with the Malaysian government and MIC in the improving the economic situation of Indians in Malaysia.

2008 General Election

In the March 2008 General Election, S. Samy Vellu lost his seat. Also losing their seats were two MIC Vice-Presidents as well as the heads of the women's wing and the youth wing. Such losses faced by the traditional ethnic Indian component party of the ruling National Front (BN) coalition has been unprecedented in Malaysia. Ethnic Indian voters, frustrated with the MIC's acceptance of UMNO's 'bumiputra policy' and doubts about integrity of MIC's leadership, appear to have withdrawn their electoral support of the MIC and other BN coalition parties like UMNO, MCA, People's Progressive Party (PPP) and Gerakan in favour of the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP), People's Justice Party (PKR) and the Pan Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS).

References

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