Unfazed by a stinging electoral defeat, Samy Vellu, the beleaguered chief of the ethnic-Indian grouping that is part of Malaysia's ruling alliance, has vowed to remain as president of the Malaysian Indian Congress.
Vellu, the lone ethnic Indian minister in the outgoing Malaysian government, lost his own parliamentary seat, which he had held for eight terms, while his MIC could retain only three of its nine parliamentary seats and seven of the 19 state seats allocated to it.
"We have to move in the direction where the wind is blowing and we hope a day will come when the new wave will be with us," 72-year-old Vellu said in a statement.
MIC is a component of the ruling Barisan Nasional party which has come back to power but with only a simple majority in its worst electoral performance.
"We accept the verdict of the people," Vellu, who lost to opposition PKR's Michael Jeyakumar by 1,821 votes at Sungei Siput contituency, said adding he will 'restructure and rebuild' the party.
The party was expected to fair badly in the wake of the growing discontent among a majority of the ethnic Indians in this country, who account for 7.8 per cent of the population of 27 million.
A series of unprecedented street protests by the Indian community against alleged marginalisation had rocked Malaysia, but Vellu had vociferously defended the government.
Voters were upset over the functioning of the MIC, which they felt had failed to address many of their problems, including stopping of the demolition of Hindu temples.
Vellu expressed his gratitude to his Sungei Siput supporters, adding that times had changed. "Every good thing has to come to an end, but there is always a new beginning," he said.
Meanwhile, MIC's secretary general S Subramaniam, who was one of the three MIC members who retained their parliamentary seat, said the ethnic Indian grouping had to take cognisance of the results and the fact that the majority of the community did not support the party in the elections.
Subramanian said Vellu should continue dictating the direction of the party.