Malaysian Indian Congress

The Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC; Tamil: மலேசிய இந்திய காங்கிரஸ், romanized: Malēciya Intiya Kāṅkiras; formerly known as Malayan Indian Congress) is a Malaysian political party. It is one of the founding members of the coalition Barisan Nasional, previously known as the Alliance, which was in power from when the country achieved independence in 1957 until the elections in 2018. The party was among the first to fight for Malayan Independence and is one of the oldest parties in Malaysia.

Malaysian Indian Congress
Malay nameKongres India Se-Malaysia
كوڠݢريس اينديا سمليسيا
Chinese name馬來西亞印度國民大會
Mǎláixīyà Yìndù Guómín Dàhuì
Tamil nameமலேசிய இந்திய காங்கிரஸ்
Malēciya Intiya Kāṅkiras
AbbreviationMIC / ம.இ.கா
PresidentVigneswaran Sanasee
Secretary-GeneralRajasekaran Thiyagarajan
SpokespersonThinalan Rajagopalu
Deputy PresidentSaravanan Murugan
Vice-PresidentMohan Thangarasu
Murugiah Thopasamy
Asojan Muniyandy
Vell Paari Tun S.Samy Vellu
Kohilan Pillai Appu
Youth LeaderRaven Kumar Krishnasamy
Woman LeaderMohana Muniandy Raman
Putera Leader
Puteri Leader
Kishva Ambigapathy
Puvaneswary Rajaram
FounderJohn Thivy
Founded4 August 1946
Preceded byMalayan Indian Congress
Headquarters6th floor, Menara Manicavasagam, No. 1, Jalan Rahmat, 50350 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
NewspaperMIC Times
Tamil Malar
Makkal Osai
Youth wingMIC Youth Movement
Women's wingMIC Women's Movement
Men's youth wingMIC Putera Movement
Women's youth wingMIC Puteri Movement
IdeologyMalaysian Indian interests
Social conservatism
Dravidian movement
National affiliationAll-Malaya Council of Joint Action (1948–1953)
Alliance (1954–1973)
Barisan Nasional (since 1973)
Allied coalitions:
Perikatan Nasional (2020–2022)
Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (since 2020)
Unity Government with PH-BN-GPS-GRS-Warisan (since November 2022)
Colours  Green and white
AnthemSaathanai Namathu Kaiyile
Dewan Negara:
3 / 70
Dewan Rakyat:
1 / 222
Dewan Undangan Negeri:
5 / 611
Party flag

The MIC was established in August 1946 to advocate for Indian independence from British colonial rule. After India gained its independence, MIC turned its focus to the struggle for the independence of Malaya (now Malaysia), which was achieved in 1957. It positioned itself to represent the Indian community in Malaya in the post-World War II development of the country. The MIC, the United Malays National Organisation and the Malaysian Chinese Association formed the National Alliance in 1954. The National Alliance incorporated additional parties and became the Barisan Nasional in 1973.

The MIC was once the largest party representing the Indian community,[further explanation needed] but has performed poorly in elections since 2008, losing out to Pakatan Harapan, which also represents majority of the Indian community.


MIC Headquarters

John Thivy and Indian nationalism


John Thivy, the founder of the MIC, met Mahatma Gandhi at London while studying law. He was inspired by Gandhi's ideology and Nehru's vision and became determined to fight for Indian independence. He became actively involved in the Indian nationalist movement and returned to Malaya.[1] He founded the Malaya Indian Congress (renamed Malaysian Indian Congress after the formation of the Federation of Malaysia in 1963) in August 1946, and was party president until 1947. The word 'Congress' in the party's name refers to the Indian National Congress, the party Mahatma Gandhi led to fight for Indian independence.

Baba Budh Singh Ji, Ramanathan, and opposition to the Malayan Union


After India gained independence in 1947, the MIC changed its focus and started to fight for the independence of Malaya.[2] Baba Budh Singh Ji became president of MIC in 1947. After World War II, the British had established the Malayan Union, unifying the Malay Peninsula under a single government to simplify administration. Although a majority of the Indian community supported the Malayan Union, the MIC did not.[3] The Malayan Union was dissolved in 1948 after widespread Malay protests and replaced with the Federation of Malaya.[4] The MIC later joined the All-Malaya Council of Joint Action under Tun Tan Cheng Lock in opposition to the Federation of Malaya Agreement.

K. Ramanathan became president in 1950. By this time, the MIC was the leading party representing Indians in Malaya.[5] Ramanathan advocated for the relaxation of the language proficiency test as a prerequisite for citizenship for Indians, and urged Indians to obtain federal citizenship.[6]

K.L. Devaser and a focus on Malayan independence


The MIC's fourth President, Kundan Lal Devaser, served from 1951 to 1955. It was during his period that MIC started to focus on the fight for Malayan independence.[7]

Under Devaser, the MIC contested the 1952 Kuala Lumpur Municipal Elections in alliance with the Independence of Malaya Party, Dato' Onn bin Jaafar and other non-communal organisations. The election ended with a failure for MIC as their coalition was defeated by the Alliance Party. The defeat showed MIC that it stood a better chance of gaining influence by joining the Alliance. In 1954 the MIC joined the United Malays National Organisation and the Malayan Chinese Association in the Alliance, securing a place for Indians in the administration.[6] The party's broader membership was less enthusiastic than the MIC leadership about joining the Alliance but were willing to support the move if the party could secure concessions from the Alliance on inter-communal issues, particularly on education.[8]

Devaser was primarily popular among the urban-based Indian elite, and lacked wider grassroots support. For the first eight years, MIC leaders were either of North Indian or Malayalee origin, a minority among Malayan Indians. The majority of Indians in Malaya at that time were Tamils, most of whom were labourers in plantations. Indian plantation workers experienced enforced segregation because of plantation compound housing. The plantation labour system also worked against the integration of Indian workers into society and perpetuated racial and occupational differentiation. Plantation workers were unable to acquire the skills required to move to better-paying jobs.[citation needed]

Migrant plantation workers were both marginalised and polarised in Malaya. Their wages were tied to rubber prices, falling when the rubber price fell, and were about 50c per day. 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, the local daily Tamil Murasu urged Tamils to boycott the MIC.[9] This was followed by a call for change in MIC's leadership, led by Tamil MIC leaders, and Devaser stepped down.[6] The MIC then faced the challenge of reconciling the political aspirations of the middle class with the needs of the working class, who at the time comprised 84% of the plantation workforce.

V. T Sambanthan and becoming a Tamil party


In May 1955, Tun V. T. Sambanthan was elected as the fifth President of the Malayan Indian Congress. Sambanthan started a recruitment campaign among plantation workers, relying on the patronage of Hinduism in its popular South Indian form, increased use of the Tamil language, and encouraging Tamil cultural activities. He personally toured plantations and encouraged Tamils to join the MIC.[6] This led to a fragmentation of the Indian community, with traditionalists and the lower middle class becoming prominent in the party while upper-class professionals and the intelligentsia moved away from it. Two paths to leadership emerged in the Indian community, via politics or via trade union activism, with very little interaction between them.[citation needed]

Under Sambanthan's leadership, the MIC effectively became a Tamil party. Sambanthan served as president of the MIC until 1971 and was largely responsible for the transformation of the party to a conservative and traditionalist party emphasising Indian culture, religion and language.[citation needed] It was the weakest of the three main political parties, with the smallest electorate (7.4% in 1959) and had little support from the Indian community at large.

The Indian community was geographically dispersed and divided and comprised less than 25% of the population in any constituency. The MIC's overriding concern was therefore to remain a partner in the Alliance and obtain whatever concessions it could from the dominant UMNO. This led the MIC to compromise on priorities such as the political and economic rights of workers.[10]

Sambanthan sold approximately half of his father's 2.4 km2 rubber estate and donated part of the money to the MIC. He was not uniformly popular but was able to gradually unite a party that had significant internal divides. During his presidency, in 1957, Malaysian independence was achieved. Sambanathan was involved in the negotiations with the British government's Reid Commission to draw up the new Malayan constitution. In 1963 Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak merged with the Federation of Malaya to form the Federation of Malaysia, and the MIC renamed itself the Malaysian Indian Congress.

Sambanathan was forced to retire in favour of V. Manickavasagam in 1973 after a rebellion by five MIC leaders including Samy Vellu.

Manickavasagam and non-political ventures


Manickavasagam served as president of MIC from 1973 to 1978. During this period, Malaysia's New Economic Policy was being developed, and the MIC convened two economic conferences in an unsuccessful effort to advocate for the interests of Indians.[11]

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. It 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 appointed several new representatives to leadership positions, including Subramaniam Sathasivam, Datuk K. Pathmanaban, a Harvard MBA holder, and several others. They were young, well-educated and ambitious but lacked grassroots experience. Subramaniam was hand-picked by Manickavasagam to become deputy president and succeed him, but the party elected Samy Vellu as Deputy President instead, by a narrow margin of 26 votes.

Samy Vellu and emphasis on education


Samy Vellu became MIC president in 1979 and served until 2010. Under his leadership, in 1984, the MIC founded the Maju Institute of Education Development (MIED) to offer educational opportunities and financial support to Indian students in Malaysia.[12] Since its establishment, more than 10,000 students have obtained loans and scholarships totaling about RM60 million MIED fund as of 2013.[13] In 2001, the MIC and MIED launched an AIMST University with the stated goal of helping Indians acquire professional training. Vellu was the founding chancellor of the university. By 2018, the university had achieved a score of 4 on the Malaysian Higher Education Institution's 5-point rating scale.[14] However, AIMST's commitment to training Indian students has been questioned.[15]

Vellu was succeeded by G. Palanivel who served from 2010 to 2014. Subramaniam was then elected, initially in an acting role, serving from 2014 to 2018. As of 2019, the party is led by Vigneswaran Sanasee.

Central Working Committee


44 Central Working Committee Members:

  1. M. Veeran
  2. K. Subramaniam
  3. D. Tharma Kumaran
  4. K. Balasundaram
  5. P. Kamalanathan
  6. K. Parthiban
  7. D. Vincent
  8. S. Tamilvanan
  9. S. Suppayah
  10. M. Mathuraiveran
  11. S. Marathamuthu
  12. N. Maneanay @ Muneandy
  13. Dr. T. Novalan
  14. G. Sivah
  15. M. Karuppanan
  16. K. Sathasivam
  17. R. Supramaniam
  18. R. Rajandran
  19. G. Raman
  20. M. Rajandran
  21. Dr. S. Ananthan
  22. V. Arumugam
  23. J. Dhinagaran
  24. S. Rajah
  25. V. Elango
  26. R. Vidyananthan
  27. L. Manickam
  28. Dr. A. Mangleswaran
  29. S. Renugopal
  30. V. P. Shanmugam
  31. Peer Mohamad Bin Kadir
  32. C. Sivaraajh
  33. K. Ramalingam
  34. S. Murugavelu
  35. A. Sakthivel
  36. N. Sivakumar
  37. Siva Subramaniam
  38. R. Balasubramaniam
  39. A. Krishnaveny
  40. R. Inbavally
  41. K. Arvind
  42. K. Kesavan
  43. N. Saraswati
  44. R. Nelson


List of party leaders


Presidents of the Malayan Indian Congress (1946–1963)

Order Name[17] Term of office Notes
1 John Thivy 4 August 1946 1947
2 Baba Budh Singh Ji 1947 1950
3 K. Ramanathan Chettiar 1950 1952
4 Kundan Lal Devaser 1952 May 1955
5 V. T. Sambanthan May 1955 16 September 1963

Presidents of the Malaysian Indian Congress (1963–present)

Order Name[17] Term of office Time in office Notes
5 V. T. Sambanthan 16 September 1963 30 June 1973 9 years, 287 days
6 V. Manickavasagam 30 June 1973 12 October 1978 5 years, 104 days
7 Samy Vellu 12 October 1979 6 December 2010 31 years, 55 days
8 Palanivel Govindasamy 6 December 2010 23 June 2013 2 years, 199 days
Subramaniam Sathasivam 23 June 2013 25 June 2015 2 years, 2 days Acting President
9 Subramaniam Sathasivam 25 June 2015 15 July 2018 3 years, 20 days
10 Vigneswaran Sanasee 15 July 2018 Incumbent 5 years, 336 days

Elected representatives


Dewan Negara (Senate)



  1. Vell Paari Samy Vellu – appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong
  2. Mohamed Haniffa Abdullah – appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong
  3. Nelson Renganathan – appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong

Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives)


Members of Parliament of the 15th Malaysian Parliament


As of 2019, MIC has only 1 MP in the House of Representatives.

State No. Parliament Constituency Member Party
  Perak P072 Tapah M. Saravanan Murugan MIC
Total Perak (1)

Dewan Undangan Negeri (State Legislative Assembly)


Malaysian State Assembly Representatives

State No. Federal Constituency No. State Constituency Member Party
  Pahang P089 Bentong N35 Sabai V Arumugam MIC
  Malacca P135 Alor Gajah N7 Gadek Shanmugam Ptcyhay MIC
  Johor P151 Sekijang N4 Kemelah Saraswathy Nallathanby MIC
P153 Sembrong N31 Kahang Vidyananthan Ramanadhan MIC
P154 Mersing N33 Tenggaroh Raven Kumar Krishnasamy MIC
Total Pahang (1), Malacca (1), Johor (3)

General election results

Election Total seats won Seats contested Total votes Share of votes Outcome of election Election leader
2 / 52
2 26,868 2.68%  2 seats; Governing coalition
(Alliance Party)
V. T. Sambanthan
3 / 104
3 15,711 1.02%  1 seat; Governing coalition
(Alliance Party)
V. T. Sambanthan
3 / 104
3 19,269 1.60%  ; Governing coalition
(Alliance Party)
V. T. Sambanthan
2 / 144
3  1 seat; Governing coalition
(Alliance Party)
V. T. Sambanthan
4 / 144
5  2 seats; Governing coalition
(Barisan Nasional)
V. Manickavasagam
3 / 154
5  1 seat; Governing coalition
(Barisan Nasional)
V. Manickavasagam
4 / 154
5  1 seat; Governing coalition
(Barisan Nasional)
Samy Vellu
6 / 177
7 104,701 2.21%  2 seats; Governing coalition
(Barisan Nasional)
Samy Vellu
6 / 180
7  ; Governing coalition
(Barisan Nasional)
Samy Vellu
7 / 192
 1 seat; Governing coalition
(Barisan Nasional)
Samy Vellu
7 / 193
 ; Governing coalition
(Barisan Nasional)
Samy Vellu
9 / 219
221,546 3.2%  2 seats; Governing coalition
(Barisan Nasional)
Samy Vellu
3 / 222
9 179,422 2.21%  6 seats; Governing coalition
(Barisan Nasional)
Samy Vellu
4 / 222
9 286,629 2.59%  1 seat; Governing coalition
(Barisan Nasional)
Palanivel Govindasamy
2 / 222
9 167,061 1.39%  2 seats; Opposition coalition,
later Governing coalition
(Barisan Nasional)
S. Subramaniam
1 / 222
10 172,176 1.11%  1 seat; Governing coalition
(Barisan Nasional)
Vigneswaran Sanasee

State election results

State election State Legislative Assembly
Perlis State Legislative Assembly Kedah State Legislative Assembly Kelantan State Legislative Assembly Terengganu State Legislative Assembly Penang State Legislative Assembly Perak State Legislative Assembly Pahang State Legislative Assembly Selangor State Legislative Assembly Negeri Sembilan State Legislative Assembly Malacca State Legislative Assembly Johor State Legislative Assembly Sabah State Legislative Assembly Total won / Total contested
2/3 majority
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
2 / 3
0 / 36
0 / 40
0 / 59
0 / 42
0 / 56
1 / 36
1 / 28
3 / 56
5 / 18
0 / 36
0 / 40
0 / 59
0 / 42
0 / 56
1 / 36
0 / 28
2 / 56
3 / 18
1 / 28
1 / 1
3 / 56
3 / 4
0 / 15
0 / 59
1 / 42
1 / 4

See also



  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. ^ "History – MIC". Malaysian Indian Congress.
  4. ^ Lau, Albert (1991). The Malayan Union controversy 1942-1948. Singapore: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195889649. OCLC 22117633.
  5. ^ Rajagopal, Shanthiah; Fernando, Joseph Milton (27 April 2018). "The Malayan Indian Congress and Early Political Rivalry among Indian Organisations in Malaya, 1946–1950". Kajian Malaysia. 36 (1): 25–42. doi:10.21315/km2018.36.1.2.
  6. ^ a b c d Kailasam, A. (1 January 2015). "Political expediencies and the process of identity construction: The quest for indian identity in Malaysia" (PDF). Kajian Malaysia. 33: 1–18.
  7. ^ "MIC – The Hidden History".
  8. ^ Brown, Rajeswary Ampalavanar (1981). The Indian minority and political change in Malaya, 1945-1957. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195804732. OCLC 8080662.
  9. ^ "Archives". The Star. Archived from the original on 14 June 2019. Retrieved 13 July 2022.
  10. ^ Koh, Sin Yee (2016). "Unpacking 'Malaysia' and 'Malaysian Citizenship': Perspectives of Malaysian-Chinese Skilled Diasporas". In Christou, A.; Mavroudi, E. (eds.). Dismantling Diasporas: Rethinking the Geographies of Diasporic Identity, Connection and Development. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-317-14958-3.
  11. ^ Anbalakan, K. (1 January 2003). "The NEP and Further Marginalization of the Indians" (PDF). Kajian Malysia. 21: 379–398. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 August 2016.
  12. ^ "Corporate Profile – Maju Institute Of Educational Development". Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  13. ^ "Mied". Archived from the original on 16 July 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  14. ^ SEE, BERNARD (24 November 2018). "Varsity to keep chasing excellence". The Star Online. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  15. ^ "MIC turns 70, but AIMST intake of Indian students 'shocking'". The Malaysian Times. 2 August 2016. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  16. ^ "Central Working Committee". Malaysian Indian Congress.
  17. ^ a b "Past Presidents of MIC – MIC".