MIC meet turns violent

Battling it out: Supporters of the rival factions tussling at the MIC headquarters yesterday.

KUALA LUMPUR - The rivalry between the two opposing factions in the MIC descended into violence during the presidential nominations when hundreds of supporters from both sides verbally abused and threw missiles at one another at the party headquarters.

The faction aligned with Datuk Seri G. Palanivel tried to break into the compound of the building while the supporters of Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, who were already inside, pushed them back at the gate. Several people were injured when objects including sticks, stones, water packs and even traffic cones were flung into the air.

The commotion disrupted traffic with onlookers stopping to take videos and photographs while motorists slowed down.

A Federal Reserve Unit truck was on standby and police had to get between the two groups of angry supporters, who shouted profanities and challenged each other to fights.

The group outside the compound only dispersed about an hour later after they failed to break through the entrance.

It was a different scene on the first floor of the party building, as Dr Subramaniam coolly submitted his nomination paper.

Branch leaders and central working committee members came in groups to file their nominations for Dr Subramaniam, who was seen chatting with other party members in the room.

Two hours later, he emerged as the new party president as he won uncontested.

The returning officer announced that Dr Subramaniam had the support of more than 2,500 of 2,800 branches nationwide. It is not known why another estimated 600 branches were not taken into account but there were branches that did not take part.

"I accept this support and I have a high awareness of my responsibility in these challenging times," said Dr Subramaniam afterwards.

He also said disciplinary action would be taken against those who created problems for the party.

"Those who abstained from taking part in the elections will be given a second chance. If they apply (to rejoin the party), we will accept them in the family," he said.

The election is largely seen as an end to an internal crisis that has been plaguing the party for months.

A few weeks ago, Palanivel had his own presidential election where he also won uncontested but the Registrar of Societies (ROS) has given its recognition to Dr Subramaniam.