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

Malaysian Indian Congress

Kongres India Se-Malaysia
மலேசிய இந்திய காங்கிரஸ்
PresidentVigneswaran Sanasee
Secretary-GeneralM. Asojan
SpokespersonV. Gunalan
Deputy PresidentSaravanan Murugan
Vice-PresidentT. Mohan
Sivarraajh Chandran
T. Murugiah
Youth LeaderThinalan T. Rajagopalu
Woman LeaderUshananthini
Putera Leader
Puteri Leader
Pon Kogilam
FounderJohn Thivy
Founded4 August 1946
Preceded byMalayan Indian Congress
Headquarters6th floor, Menara Manicavasagam, No. 1, Jalan Rahmat, 50350 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
NewspaperMIC Times
Tamil Nesan
Youth wingMIC Youth Movement
Women's wingMIC Women's Movement
Men's youth wingMIC Putera Movement
Women's youth wingMIC Puteri Movement
Social conservatism
Dravidian Movement
Self-Respect Movement
Indian nationalism (historical)
Gandhian socialism (historical)
Tamil nationalism (historical)
Political positionRight-wing
National affiliationAll-Malaya Council of Joint Action (1948–1953)
Alliance (1954–73)
Barisan Nasional (1973–)
Colours     Green and white
Dewan Negara:
3 / 70
Dewan Rakyat:
1 / 222
Dewan Undangan Negeri:
3 / 587
Party flag
Malaysian Indian Congress Flag.svg

The MIC was established in August 1946 to fight for Indian independence from British colonial rule. After India gained its independence, MIC was involved 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.



MIC Headquarter

The Malaysian Indian Congress is one of the oldest political party established in Malaysia. The party was founded in 1946 by John A.Thivy. At first the party was established to fight for Indian independence. After India gained independence, the party change its ideology in the course of the continuing struggle of the inter-war years, 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 NationalistEdit

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

After India gained independence in 1947, the Malaysian Indian Congress changed its ideology and started to fight for Malaysian Independence.[2] John Thivy remained as party president until 1947.

Baba Budh Singh Ji and Ramanathan Era: Fight against Malayan Union and the Federation of MalayaEdit

Baba Budh Singh Ji became president of MIC in 1947. During this time, the sentimentalists of the party took the path of anti-colonialism. Although a majority of the Indian community supported the Malayan Union, the MIC refused to support the Malayan Union scheme.[3] The Malayan Union scheme was withdrawn on 1948 and replaced with the Federation of Malaya. The MIC later joined the All Malaya Council for Joint Action (AMCJA) under Tun Tan Cheng Lock in opposition to the less liberal Federation of Malaya Agreement of 1948.

The third president 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 the 1952 Kuala Lumpur Municipal Elections in alliance with the Independence of Malaya Party under Dato' Onn bin Jaafar and other non-communal organisations. However the 1952 elections proved the MIC's attempt to preach and practise non-communalism would not prevail in Malayan politics when communalism was popular.

K.L. Devaser Era : Joining Alliance Party and focusing on Malayan IndependenceEdit

In 1954 the MIC under its fourth President Kundan Lal Devaser (1951-1955) became the third partner in the Alliance with UMNO and MCA. 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 Party under Dato’ Onn bin Jaafar. 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 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 wage workers 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 better paying jobs elsewhere. Migrant plantation workers were therefore marginalised and polarised 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 clamoured for a change in MIC's leadership and a change did take place because the president recognised that he had 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 PartyEdit

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 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 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's leadership, the MIC effectively became a Tamil party. Sambanthan 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, 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 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 strengthened 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 BookEdit

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 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.

Party achievementEdit

Education welfareEdit

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.[6]

AIMST University

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.[3]

Private university projectEdit

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.

Central Working CommitteeEdit

  • President: Vigneswaran Sanasee
  • Deputy President: Saravanan Murugan
  • 1st Vice-President: T. Mohan
  • 2nd Vice-President: Sivarraajh Chandran
  • 3rd Vice-President: T. Murugiah
  • Secretary-General: M. Asojan
  • Treasurer-General: M.S. Amrit Kaur
  • Information Chief: V. Gunalan
  • Executive Secretary: A.K. Ramalingam
  • Youth Leader: Thinalan Rajagopalu
  • Deputy Youth Leader: Subramaniam Balakrishnan
  • Women Leader: Ushananthini
  • Deputy Women Leader: Vickneswary Babuji
  • Putera Leader: Padmarajah
  • Deputy Putera Leader: G. Nedunchelien
  • Puteri Leader: Pon Kogilam
  • Deputy Puteri Leader: C.M. Hemalatha

30 Central Working Committee Members:

  1. P. Kamalanathan
  2. S. Ananthan
  3. M. Mathuraiveran
  4. V. Elango
  5. G. Kannan
  6. N. Muneandy
  7. R. Subramaniam
  8. M. Nyana Segaran
  9. J. Dhinagaran
  10. S. Kannan
  11. G. Raman
  12. TH Subra @ Subramaniam
  13. S. Marathamuthu
  14. Dr. Thanaletchumy
  15. S. Tamilvanan
  16. Gunaseelan Rajoo
  17. MP Nathan
  18. M. Veeran
  19. K. Murali Nath
  20. Sathasivam Kalimuthu
  21. D. Tharma Kumaran
  22. R. Balakrishnan
  23. Saundarasan
  24. K. Rajan
  25. V.P. Shanmugam
  26. R. Rajandran
  27. K. Ravi
  28. Subramaniam Karuppiah
  29. S. Murugavelu
  30. K. Ramalingam


Elected representativesEdit

Dewan Negara (Senate)Edit


  1. Ananthan Somasundaram – appointed by the Kedah State Legislative Assembly
  2. Mohan Tangarasu – appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong
  3. Vigneswaran Sanasee – appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong

Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives)Edit

Members of Parliament of the 14th Malaysian ParliamentEdit

MIC currently 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)Edit

Malaysian State Assembly RepresentativesEdit

State election resultsEdit

List of party leadersEdit

President of Malayan Indian CongressEdit

Order Portrait Name[8] Term of office Elected
1 John Aloysius Thivy August 1946 1947
2 Baba Budh Singh Ji 1947 1950
3 K. Ramanathan Chettiar 1950 1951
4 Kundan Lal Devaser 1951 May 1955
5 Thirunyanasambanthan Veerasamy May 1955 1 September 1963

President of Malaysian Indian CongressEdit

Order Portrait Name[8] Term of office Elected
5 Thirunyanasambanthan Veerasamy 1 September 1963 30 June 1973
6 V. Manickavasagam Pillai 30 June 1973 1977
1977 12 October 1978
7 Samy Vellu 12 October 1979 6 December 2010
8 Palanivel Govindasamy 6 December 2010 25 June 2014
Subramaniam Sathasivam 25 June 2014 25 June 2015 acting
9 Subramaniam Sathasivam 25 June 2015 15 July 2018
10 Vigneswaran Sanasee 15 July 2018

General election resultsEdit

Election Total seats won Total votes Share of votes Outcome of election Election leader
2 / 52
26,868 2.68%  2 seats; Governing coalition (Alliance Party) V. T. Sambanthan
3 / 104
15,711 1.02%  1 seat; Governing coalition (Alliance Party) V. T. Sambanthan
3 / 104
19,269 1.60%  ; Governing coalition (Alliance Party) V. T. Sambanthan
2 / 144
 1 seat; Governing coalition (Alliance Party) V. T. Sambanthan
4 / 144
 2 seats; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional) V. Manickavasagam
3 / 154
 1 seat; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional) V. Manickavasagam
4 / 154
 1 seat; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional) Samy Vellu
6 / 177
104,701 2.21%  2 seats; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional) Samy Vellu
6 / 180
 ; 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
179,422 2.21%  6 seats; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional) Samy Vellu
4 / 222
286,629 2.59%  1 seat; Governing coalition (Barisan Nasional) Palanivel Govindasamy
2 / 222
167,061 1.39%  2 seats; Opposition (Barisan Nasional) S. Subramaniam

See alsoEdit


  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. ^ a b "History – MIC". Malaysian Indian Congress.
  4. ^ "MIC – The Hidden History".
  5. ^ "Archives - The Star Online".
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 July 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Central Working Committee". Malaysian Indian Congress.
  8. ^ a b "Past Presidents of MIC – MIC".

External linksEdit