Kuala Lumpur: G Palanivel on Monday retained the presidency of Malaysia`s largest ethnic Indian political party for a second term after winning the top post unopposed, and said he might stay on until after 2016.
Palanivel, who has led the party since 2010, was the only Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) leader who filed nomination papers for the post.
He said he might stay on beyond 2016, despite an earlier promise to the contrary.
Palanivel, a journalist-turned-politician, had said he would hold on to the post only until 2016 when his deputy and designated successor Dr Subramaniam would take over.
Palanivel said this was because he had now received overwhelming support with 617 nominations or 96 per cent support from branch chairmen to contest the presidency.
"More than 3,000 branch chairmen want me to continue being the president. I will make a decision in 2016. I also feel like retiring but the branch chairmen are forcing me to continue," he said.
Dr Subramaniam, who was initially speculated to challenge Palanivel for the top post, ended up being a seconder of Palanivel`s nomination.
Palanivel promised to transform MIC into a more robust and proactive party capable of representing the minority ethnic Indian community.
"The next three years will be important for MIC as we want to strengthen the party and to continue safeguarding the interests of the Indian community."
He said he would attempt to strengthen MIC by holding roundtable discussions with other Indian-based parties including the Indian Progressive Front, People`s Progressive Party and the Malaysian Makkal Sakti Party.
"To bring the Indian community forward, MIC is prepared to hold discussions with other Indian-based parties. Over a period of time, I`m confident they will merge with us, making us a strong party."