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Badawi to decide on Malaysia polls soon

Malaysian PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi says he would decide on early elections 'soon', prompting speculation about whether or not MIC chief Samy Vellu would contest.

world Updated: Feb 05, 2008 11:29 IST

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has said he would decide on early elections 'soon', prompting speculation about whether or not Malysian Indian Congress (MIC) chief Samy Vellu would contest.

"I have got the inspiration and I will decide on it (the date) soon," Badawi aid at Kota Baru on Monday, indicating that he might cut short his tenure, due to end next year.

"With this statement, the poll frenzy will reach even higher levels now," The New Straits Times noted on Tuesday.

Badawi's government had last weekend promised ethnic Indians, who comprise eight per cent of Malaysia's 27 million population, they "would not be left behind".

There is feverish speculation about the leadership of the MIC, the party that represents the interests of Malaysia's 2.5 million ethnic Indians and is part of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.

The blogs on the Internet are overactive. According to some, Badawi has asked the long-time MIC chief and Works Minister S Samy Vellu not to contest the next election.

They have speculated that Vellu's candidature may be given to his son Vel Paari. But the latter has denied the rumours, saying he does not need a position to serve the ethnic Indian community.

"Yes, yes, he told me not to contest in 2010," Vellu said mockingly on Monday, about the prime minister's purported advice.

Responding to such postings on the web, Vellu blamed it on a "set of mad fellows going around" with the idea of destroying the MIC.

"But the more they do it, the stronger we are," he was quoted as saying by The Star newspaper.

"These fellows are going to die with the SMS because they are getting mad every day. They will come to a level very soon where they are fit to go into the mental hospital," he charged.

He pinpointed the rumour to a "fat fellow" in Klang.

Asked who the person was, Samy said: "I know. You do the research. A mad fellow goes around the streets. He makes noise and all that."

On suggestions that former MIC deputy president S Subramaniam was lobbying to stand as a candidate, Vellu said: "Let rumours be rumours".

The talk of early polls has also triggered a demand for installation of a caretaker government, although Malaysia's constitution does not provide for it.

Heading the demand is a group headed by Karpal Singh, an ethnic Indian lawmaker from the opposition.

Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang on Monday filed an affidavit in support of Singh, seeking a declaration that a caretaker government should be formed after the parliament is dissolved for the upcoming election.

This government, he said in his affidavit, should be set up in place of the government of the day to manage the daily administrative needs of the country and not make policy decisions or provide for allocation of funds.

The originating summons, filed at the high court civil registry, named the Election Commission and the government as defendants.