The dissensions within the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), the country's oldest party that represents ethnic Indians, have deepened with the former youth front chief suing party president S. Samy Vellu.
S. Vigneswaran, who was sacked as MIC's youth chief last week, has filed a RM11 million (over $3 million) defamation suit against Vellu and three others - Star Publications Bhd, its group editor Wong Chun Wai and writer A. Letchumanan.
Vigneswaran filed the suit on Monday at the high court registry, the New Straits Times reported Tuesday. He claims that an article which appeared in The Star newspaper on July 7 was libellous and had affected his credibility and good name.
He contended that the words uttered by Vellu at the opening of the MIC's youth and women's wings' annual general assembly July 6 were malicious and slanderous.
"The defamatory words were repeated in an article written by the journalist, edited by Wong and published by The Star," the report said.
The reason Vellu gave for sacking the youth chief, a former protege, was that he had crossed the age of 40. Vigneswaran has turned a critic since then.
Vellu, a long-time minister who has led the MIC for over two decades, is fighting demands that he quit and accept responsibility for the party's unprecedented failure in the March elections.
Vellu himself lost his ninth bid to enter parliament and the party could return only three MPs.
Ethnic Indians, a bulk of them Tamils who came here during the British era, form roughly eight percent of Malaysia's 28 million population.