Kuala Lumpur: Merging all Malaysian ethnic Indian parties into a single entity can improve their credibility and restore the minority community`s faith in them, according to a social activist.
R Nambiar, who is the President of Pakar Malayalee of Malaysia, said this was because having various Indian community-related parties and ideologies would only damage ethnic harmony.
The Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) is the country`s largest ethnic Indian based political party and an important component of the ruling coalition of Barisan Nasional.
However, the past few years have seen a decline in the party`s popularity with many ethnic Indians complaining that MIC had not done enough for the minority community.
As long as the entity`s concern was to achieve unity, sacrifices must be done to throw away the old ideologies of each party and to come out with a single ideology, accepted by everyone, Nambiar told state-owned Bernama news agency.
He said the recent merging initiative proposed by MIC president G Palanivel, who wanted to combine the People`s Progressive Party (PPP), the Indian Progressive Front Malaysia (IPF), Makkal Sakthi and other Indian community-related parties into a single entity, was also seen as a credible move for stronger governance.
However, he said, with the merger, some members or leaders might have to lose their positions as the merging process could not accommodate all the top leaders from each party.
"As such, they must come out with a systematic structure and I believe this structure and changes will definitely bring a better future for the Indian community... We will have a better say, better unity and better number of people in Parliament to speak and act for the Indians," he said.
Assoc Prof Dr Sarjit Singh of the Department of Social Sciences and Development, Faculty of Human Ecology, Universiti Putra Malaysia, said minor political parties such as PPP, IPF, Makkal Sakthi and the Malaysian Indian United Party (MIUP) should merge with the MIC as it would be hard, as much as irrelevant, for minor parties to serve the needs of the Indian community as a whole.
MIC was established in August 1946.
"But of course, they need to have some restructuring and need new leadership, after the merging. The MIC is not doing so well now. I believe all the senior people must leave," he said.
Meanwhile, former MIC secretary-general D P Vijandran said the merger proposal was not only aimed at having stronger governance, but also vigorous democracy.