Chaotic scenes at MIC headquarters

Chaotic scenes at MIC headquarters
Restless: Police forming a barricade to escort MIC leaders as they leave the headquarters after the meeting.

KUALA LUMPUR - A crucial MIC meeting to discuss an order by the Registrar of Societies (RoS) turned ugly as scuffles broke out between the party's two rival factions, with name-calling and profanities being exchanged, and songs mocking the leadership being played.

The meeting also ended without progress, except to decide that the top two party leaders - president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel and his de­­puty Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam - will meet the RoS next week.

The two are the only ones who have been "spared" from the RoS order, which called for the re-election for all other party posts.

In the days leading up to the meeting, the party was embroiled in controversy, with some factions questioning the validity of the Central Working Committee members invited for yesterday's meeting.

Palanivel clarified later that it was not a CWC meeting as touted pre­viously but was an ordinary working committee meeting.

Just before the meeting at 2pm, former Youth chief Datuk T. Mohan and MIC strategic director Datuk Seri S. Vell Paari led a strong protest along with several hundred MIC members demanding fresh elections.

The two also tried to confront Palanivel but were stopped by Subramaniam. They were later escorted by police to the president's office where after a brief discussion, they were allowed to attend the meeting.

Others allowed in included Am­­pang Jaya branch chairman Datuk N. Muniandy and Puteri MIC chief J. Usha Nandhini.

Outside the party headquarters, the situation turned ugly as supporters from rival factions began pushing their way inside, with some hurling profanities at each other. Some held up placards demanding party president Palanivel to resign.

Heavy police presence prevented the crowd from turning unruly and forcing their way into the headquarters.

Aside from protesters seeking fresh elections, there was also a large turnout of members aligned to Palanivel eager to know the outcome of the meeting.

Journalists were not spared either, having to push their way through the crowd, with some initially being left out of the press conference as there was no space left to fit everyone in the meeting room.

After much protest senior MIC members agreed to leave the room, providing space for the rest.

During the press conference, Pala­nivel said he and Subramaniam would meet RoS next week to hopefully resolve matters involving the directive.

"We do not want to risk being de-registered, so we will meet RoS. I will also be meeting Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to seek his advice," he said.

Palanivel, who is Natural Resour­ces and Environment Minister, said the party would form a joint committee to look into several issues concerning the party polls.

The joint committee will comprise 10 people who had called for fresh elections as well as members of the CWC who were elected last year.

Asked about calls for him to resign as party president, Palanivel brushed it off, saying "that is just being said by a few people".

However, he declined to comment what issues would be discussed by the committee as "it is private and confidential".

RoS had nullified the elections for the three vice-presidencies and 23 CWC posts held during the party's general assembly in Malacca last November.

It recommended MIC hold fresh elections within 90 days for these posts after it had found irregularities and breach of the party's constitution and the Societies Act.

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