‘Najib must clarify Palanivel’s position’

K Pragalath | January 25, 2012

MIC president's appointment as the lead minister for socio-economic development of Indians creates ambiguity, says Klang MP Charles Santiago.

PETALING JAYA: The government must explain MIC president G Palanivel’s appointment as lead minister for socio-economic development of Indians, said Klang MP Charles Santiago.

He said the clarification is vital since Palanivel’s new position is vague as Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is also heading the cabinet committee on Indian affairs, which was formed in 2008.

“Is the cabinet committee irrelevant now or is Palanivel going to lead the cabinet committee? asked Santiago

“Is Najib supporting Palanivel’s bid to retain his position as MIC chief against a possible contest from Dr S Subramaniam (Human Resources Minister and MIC deputy president)?”

“He cannot be appointed a lead minister simply to bribe Indians to vote for BN,” said Santiago in response to Najib’s announcement.

Two days ago, Najib named Palanivel, who is also Minister in Prime Minister’s Department, as lead minister for socio-economic development of Indians.

Santiago said he plans to meet Palanivel to find out the MIC leader’s plans for the Indian community, adding that the new position “merely adds layers to the bureaucracy”.

The DAP leader also took Najib to task for asking for Indians to have ‘nambikkai’ (trust) in BN.

“The Indians have been giving their trust to the government for years and the community is still marginalised. What is needed is historical justice,” said Santiago.

He said that the government was in fact indebted to the Indian community for their accumulated contributions in the plantation sector.

“Without the Indians’ contribution which jump-started Malaysia’s economy, Malaysia won’t be where it is today,” said Santiago.

Pakatan’s ploy

In an immediate reaction, MIC central committee member KP Samy hit out at Santiago and other Pakatan Rakyat leaders for continuously picking on Palanivel and MIC.

“Their ploy is to always make us (MIC) look weak and appear unable to help the community.

“This has to stop. They are playing politics by trying to win the votes without having done anything for the community,” he told FMT.

Samy asked if Santiago could outline the achievements in Pakatan controlled states for the Indian community.

“We can hold an open debate on who has done more for the community – MIC or Pakatan. Is Santiago ready for it?” asked Samy.

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