Malaysian Indian Congress

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Malaysian Indian Congress
Kongres India Se-Malaysia
மலேசிய இந்திய காங்கிரஸ்
Abbreviation MIC
President Subramaniam Sathasivam
Secretary-General A. Sakhtivel
Spokesperson V. S. Mogan
Founder John Thivy
Deputy President Devamany S. Krishnasamy
Vice President 1. S.A Vigneswaran
2. T.Mohan
3. Jaspal Singh
Woman Leader M. Mohana
Youth Leader Sivarajah
Founded August 1946
Preceded by Malayan Indian Congress
Headquarters 6th floor, Menara Manicavasagam, No. 1, Jalan Rahmat, 50350 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Newspaper MIC Times
Youth wing MIC Youth Movement
Women's wing MIC Women's Movement
Men's youth wing MIC Putera Movement
Women's youth wing MIC Puteri Movement
Ideology Nationalism,
Social conservatism,
Dravidian parties
Political position Right-wing
National affiliation All-Malaya Council of Joint Action (1948-1953)
Alliance (1954–73)
Barisan Nasional (1973–present)
Colours Green and white
Dewan Negara:
5 / 70
Dewan Rakyat:
3 / 222
Dewan Undangan Negeri:
5 / 576
Party flag
Malaysian Indian Congress flag.png
Politics of Malaysia
Political parties

The Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) (Tamil: மலேசிய இந்திய காங்கிரஸ்) 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 party is among the first party to fight for Malaya Independence and one of the oldest party in Malaysia.

The MIC was established in August 1946, and has ceased to exist 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 Organisation (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 party was once the largest party representing the Indian community, but has performed poorly in elections since 2008, with the Indian community mostly voting for the opposition.


The Malaysian Indian Congress is one of the oldest political party established in Malaysia. The party founded in year 1946 by John A.Thivy. At first the party were established to fight for Indian independence.After India gain independence, the party change it's ideology in the course of the continuing struggle of the inter-war tears, to end British Colonial rule, as well as in the need for representation on behalf of Indian Community in the post war development of the country.

John Thivy era:Indian Nationalist[edit]

John Thivy meet Mahatma Gandhi at London when studying for law. He was inspired by Gandhi's ideology and determined for fight for Indian independence. He actively involved in Indian nationalist movement when he returned to Malaya.[1] He founded Malaya Indian Congress (MIC only officially became known as Malaysian Indian Congress, after the formation of the Federation of Malaysia in 1963).on August 1946.The word 'Congress' in the name of Malaysian Indian Congress is taken from the Indian National Congress , the party that Mahatma Gandhi founded to fight for Indian independence.

After India gain independence in 1948, Malaysian Indian Congress change it's ideology and started to fight for Malaysian Independence.[2] John Thivy only remain as party president for 1946 to 1947.

Sardar Budh Singh and Ramanathan Era :Fight against Malayan Union and Federation of Malaya[edit]

Sardar Budh Singh became the 2nd president of MIC. During this time, the sentimental of the party take the path of anti-colonialism. Although majority of Indian support Malayan Union, MIC take the principle not to support Malayan Union.[3] The Malayan union were withdraw on 1948 and replaced with Federation of Malaya.The consequence of this is tens of thousands of Indians were refused Malayan citizenship. The refusal to grant citizenship not only affected those who resided for decades in Malaya after migrating from India, it also deeply affected the Indians who are born in Malaya. As a consequence, thousands of wealthy Indians decided to leave Malaya, taking with them the economic cake that we Indians have yet to reclaim till now. The MIC later joined the All Malaya Council for Joint Action (AMCJA) under Tun Tan Cheng Lok in opposition to the less liberal Federation of Malaya Agreement of 1948.

Third President Mr. K.Ramanathan,realising the ineffectiveness and futility of non-cooperation with the Government when the other major communities represented by UMNO and MCA cooperated, the MIC contested in 1952 Kuala Lumpur Municipal Elections in alliance with the IMP under Dato' Onn bin Jaafar and other non-communal organizations. However the 1952 elections proved the MIC's attempt to preach and practise non-communalism would not prevail in Malayan politics when communalism was the winning factor.

K.L Devaser Era : Joining Alliance Party and focusing on Malayan Independence[edit]

In 1954 the MIC under its fourth President Mr. K. L. Devaser (1951-1955) became the third partner in the Alliance with UMNO and MCA.And It was during his period that MIC started focusing on the fight for Malayan independence.[4]

At first, MIC under K.L Devaser contested in the 1952 Kuala Lumpur Municipal Elections in partnership with the Independence of Malaya Partyunder Dato’ Onn bin Jaafar.The election ended with a failure for MIC as their coalition were thrashed by the Alliance Party. The defeat showed MIC that it stood a better chance by joining the ‘Alliance’ as it was the most workable and effective form of political technique in the Malayan context. Thus, in 1954, MIC became the third member of the Alliance Party.

According to Rajeswary Ampalavanar, author of The Indian Minority and Political Change in Malaya 1954-1957, the MIC leadership was quite eager to join the Alliance but there was some resistance within the party’s broader membership. They were willing to support the move if the party could secure some concessions from the Alliance on inter-communal issues, particularly on education. From its inception up to this period, the Indian community has been divided.

While K.L. Devaser was quite outspoken, his influence was largely among the urban-based Indian elite and he lacked wider grassroots support. For the first eight years, the MIC leaders were either of North Indian or Malayalee origin, representing a minority among the Malayan Indians. The majority of Indians (90%) in Malaya at that time were Tamils, mainly the labourers in plantations. Indian plantation workers, the main group of wageworkers in Malaya at the time, experienced enforced segregation because of plantation compound housing. The plantation labour system also worked against the integration of Indian workers into society at large and perpetuated racial and occupational differentiation. For one thing, they were unable to acquire skills that would facilitate their move to betterpaying jobs elsewhere. Migrant plantation workers were therefore marginalized and polarized in Malaya. Their wages in the post World War II era, which were around 50 cents a day, were tied to rubber prices, falling when the rubber price fell, but never rising when prices rose. K.L. Devaser came under heavy criticism from the Tamil media for not addressing the pressing issues facing the community. Some in the party felt that there was a need for a leader with a stronger relationship with the party’s grassroots. In March 1955, reports in the local daily Tamil Murasu urged Tamils to boycott the MIC.[5] Even in 1955, the Indians clamored for a change in MIC’s leadership and a change did take place because the president had the decency to recognize that he has overstayed his welcome and gave way for change.The MIC's main challenge then, was to reconcile the political aspirations of the middle class with the needs of the labour class, who then comprised 84% of the plantation workforce.

Sambanthan Era:Becoming Tamil Party[edit]

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. The MIC's main challenge was to reconcile the political aspirations of the middle class with the poverty and needs of the labouring class, who in 1938 comprised 84% of the plantation labour force. Sambanthan Thevar started a recruitment campaign among plantation workers, relying on patronage of Hinduism in its popular South Indian form, increased use and fostering of the Tamil language, and Tamil cultural activities.

But the MIC under Sambanthan Thevar failed to reconcile the needs of labour with the political aspirations of the middle class. The traditionalists and the lower middle class strengthened their hold within the party, while the upper class professionals and the intelligentsia moved away from it. Subsequently, two paths to leadership emerged among the Indians – political and trade union – with very little interaction between them.

Under Sambanthan Thevar's leadership, the MIC effectively became a Tamil party. Sambanthan Thevar served as president of the MIC from 1955–71 and was largely responsible for the transformation of the party from an active, political organisation to a conservative, traditional one, emphasising Indian culture, religion and language.

It was also the weakest of the three main political parties. It had the smallest electorate – 7.4% in 1959; and it had little support from the Indian community at large.

Since the Indian community was geographically dispersed and divided, it comprised less than 25% in any constituency. Therefore, the MIC's over-riding concern was to remain a partner in the Alliance (the UMNO-MCA-MIC Alliance that had won the first elections in 1955, and that was subsequently renamed Barisan Nasional) and obtain whatever concessions it could from the dominant UMNO. In the process, political and economic rights of workers were sacrificed.

Sambanthan Thevar, while as MIC president, helped strengthen the party economically by selling about half of his father's 2.4 km² rubber estate to help the Indian community as well as to provide financial strength to the party coffers.

Sambanthan Thevar 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 strengthen 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.

Manickavasagam Era:Infusing new blood and Blue Book[edit]

Manickavasagam became president of MIC as a result of increased resistance of the grassroot members to Tun V.T. Sambanthan's style of leadership. As president of the party for 18 years, some felt[weasel words] Sambanthan had overstayed his welcome and wanted change.

Under Manickavasagam's leadership, the MIC was put on a strong footing with buildings, offices and staff in various parts of the country and the party system organised and its capacity to deal with issues enhanced.

It was during this period that the MIC, as member of the Alliance, became part of the 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 Fund for higher education as well as acquiring an Institute for training Indians in technical and trade skills.Manickavasagam had a vision for the Malaysian Indian community. He organised the First Indian Economic Seminar and as a result the Blue Book came about. It was a development plan for the economic growth of the Indian community.The Blue Book was an orchestrated effort of a think-tank of top Indian business, political and education leaders collaborating to augment the future of the Malaysian Indian community. Maika Holdings and Maju Institute of Education and Development (MIED) and others are a direct result of the Blue Book.

When Manickavasagam became president of the Malaysian Indian Congress, he decided to introduce new faces to the party in leadership positions. This was the time when Datuk S. Subramaniam, Datuk K. Pathmanaban, a Harvard MBA holder, and several others entered the political arena to infuse new blood into MIC, and Manickavasagam gave them preference. They were young, well-educated and ambitious but lacked grassroots experience.

This made Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, who was then MIC vice-president, bitter as he felt he was being sidelined. Samy Vellu was one of the five leaders who dared defy former president Tun V.T. Sambanthan and propel Manickavasagam to the presidency of the party.Subramaniam, then the secretary general of MIC, was hand-picked by Manickavasagam to become deputy president and succeed him. However, Samy Vellu fought back, literally, and in the 1977 party elections he managed to beat Subramaniam by a mere 26 votes to become the Deputy President of MIC.

Samy Vellu Era: The decline of MIC[edit]

Samy Vellu was the longest serving president of MIC. During his leadership MIC face various crisis among the leadership.[6] Beside that, during this time MIC failed to overlook the problem of Malaysian Indians. Maika Holding are among the huge controversy for MIC during his era. Samy Vellu known for his autocratic and will sack all the leader who go against him. It make MIC breakdown and established of new party like All Malaysian Indian Progressive Front The failure of MIC in to push for equal rights and opportunities for the minority Indians lead to the 2007 HINDRAF rally.In the March 2008 General Election,MIC face a major blow and 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.It lead to Samy Vellu retirement.

Palinivel and Subramaniam era: Continue of MIC decline[edit]

MIC continue with the leadership struggle as the party currently breakdown into two supporter group. Palinivel were sacked as MIC Party President and overtake by Subramaniam. The case are still pending in court.

Party Achievement[edit]

Education welfare[edit]

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 the MIC.[7]

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.[8]

Private university project[edit]

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 15 March 2001, by the Maju Institute of Educational Development (MIED), the educational arm of the MIC.

Elected representatives[edit]

Dewan Negara (Senate)[edit]


  1. Goonasakaren Raman – appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong
  2. Jaspal Singh Gurbakhes Singh – appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong
  3. S. Bagiam Ayem Perumal – appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong
  4. S. Vigneswaran M. Sanasee – appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong
  5. Subramaniam Veruthasalam – appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong

Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives)[edit]

Members of Parliament of the 13th Malaysian Parliament[edit]

Dewan Undangan Negeri (State Legislative Assembly)[edit]

Malaysian State Assembly Representatives[edit]

List of presidents[edit]

  1. John Thivy (1946–47)
  2. Budh Singh (1947–50)
  3. K. Ramanathan Chettiar (1950–51
  4. K.L. Devaser (1951–55)
  5. V. T. Sambanthan (1955–73)
  6. V. Manickavasagam (1973–79)
  7. Samy Vellu (12 October 1979 – 6 December 2010)
  8. Palanivel Govindasamy (6 December 2010 – 25 June 2015)
  9. Subramaniam Sathasivam (25 June 2015–present)

General election results[edit]

Election Total seats won Total votes Share of votes Outcome of election Election leader
2 / 52
Increase2 seats; Governing coalition (Alliance Party) V. T. Sambanthan
3 / 104
Increase1 seat; Governing coalition (Alliance Party) V. T. Sambanthan
3 / 104
Steady; Governing coalition (Alliance Party) V. T. Sambanthan
2 / 144
Decrease1 seat; Governing coalition (Alliance Party) V. T. Sambanthan
4 / 144
Increase2 seats; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional) V. Manickavasagam
3 / 154
Decrease1 seat; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional) V. Manickavasagam
4 / 154
Increase1 seat; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional) Samy Vellu
6 / 177
Increase2 seats; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional) Samy Vellu
6 / 180
Steady; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional) Samy Vellu
7 / 192
Increase1 seat; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional) Samy Vellu
7 / 193
Steady; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional) Samy Vellu
9 / 219
221,546 3.2% Increase2 seats; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional) Samy Vellu
3 / 222
179,422 2.21% Decrease6 seats; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional) Samy Vellu
4 / 222
286,629 2.59% Increase1 seat; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional) Palanivel Govindasamy


  1. ^ Timothy J. Lomperis, ed. (2000). From People’s War to People’s Rule: Insurgency, Intervention, and the Lessons of Vietnam. Univ of North Carolina Press. p. 217. ISBN 9789971693916. 
  2. ^ Andrew C. Willford, ed. (2007). Cage of Freedom: Tamil Identity and the Ethnic Fetish in Malaysia. NUS Paper. p. 26. ISBN 9789971693916. 
  3. ^
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  5. ^
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External links[edit]