ukit Selambau Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Datuk S. Ganesan said he would like to emulate US President Barrack Obama's ability to work for all races in his country.

He also urged the people of Bukit Selambau to follow in his footsteps to try and raise the living standards.

"I want to be Malaysia's Obama to safeguard the welfare of all the races and become an idol for the community, because despite being born in a very poor family, I have managed to succeed in life through education.

"And since I come from a poor background, I can readily understand the difficulties faced by the poor," he told reporters after visiting SJK (T) Ladang Sungai Getah, together with Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein here today.

"I would also like to help develop Bukit Selambau so that the living standard of the people here will improve and promise a better quality of living for the younger generation."

He urged the people of Bukit Selambau to remain calm and composed on polling day (April 7), because there was a large number of candidates vying for the post.

Meanwhile, Hishammuddin, who is also the Umno vice president, believes the opposition would retort to various false accusations and try to exploit racial sentiments to discredit BN and confuse the people during their campaign.

"They will allege that BN uses phantom voters to win but when they win, there will not be such issues raised. Whichever seat that they win, there will be no phantom voters issue but if they lost a seat, then they will say there were phantom voters.

"Even when the opposition won five states, BN did not accuse them of using phantom votes," he told reporters after handing over RM210,000 for the SJK Tamil School in Sungai Getah, provided for under the second stimulus package.

Q: What is the status of the rebranding exercise?

A: We have briefed more than 3,000 branches on our re-branding programme. We have to brief 210 more branches in Negri Sembilan and another 430 in Selangor.

The branches briefed are already adopting our new approach in handling the people’s problems, including assessing the situation, analy-sing how we have been doing and getting feedback.

Q: What next?
A: We have to engage the people and tell them what we are doing to improve their status.

We were approaching things in an individual manner, meaning the branch leader was approached with a problem and he would take it to the MIC leadership.

Now, we have changed the approach. The branch leader will form a small team, whose members include professionals, to listen to the people’s problems.

The team will bring up the issue with the elected representative of the area.

The people’s problems are not communal. We cannot operate on communal lines anymore. Operating on communal lines is why the problems of certain communities are never-ending and that is what contributes to dissatisfaction.

It is not only the party’s responsibility to solve the problem, it is the elected representatives’ responsibility as well.

The branch leaders have to solve the problems at their level with the help of the elected representatives.

The party’s top leadership should not be burdened with minor issues. It has to tackle issues at macro level, such as increasing Indian employment in government service or formulating ways to increase the community’s economic wealth. But, for that, we need the government to offer jobs and licences to the Indian community so that it can raise its equity in the national economy.

We are also proposing a unit trust fund with government guarantee for the community.

Q: How sure are you that the new approach will work?

A: There are only three MIC representatives and it is difficult for them to solve the problems of more than two million Indians. Furthermore, the problems faced by Indians in Malaysia are not the responsibility of MIC alone but that of the Barisan Nasional as well.

Everyone in BN is duty- bound to help people regardless of their racial background. This way, many of the problems affecting the Indian community or other communities can be solved and there will be no resentment against BN.

It has to be a collective effort on the part of BN at the grassroots level onwards, no more communal-based, from local councils up to the state government and then the Federal Government.

For instance, if there is an opening for 10 positions in a local council, the Indian community should be considered for some of the positions. Otherwise, where can the Indians go to become council members?

Q: How about in the Pakatan Rakyat-held states? How will the approach there be?

A: It is the same approach.

Branch leaders should take up the issues with the relevant government departments. This is the time for branch leaders to play their part, to win back the confidence of the people.

Q: How are the branch leaders taking to this new approach?

A: There is a lot of enthusiasm and they are ready to face the challenges. There is nothing for them to lose.

Q: How successful do you think the rebranding exercise will be?

A: MIC on its own can achieve success only to a certain extent. BN, also, has to undergo a rebranding exercise. Many component parties, including Umno, are talking about it.

We have to prove that BN component parties can work as a team. We may have done some things wrongly in the past. It is time we put it right.

Q: What about Hindraf?

A: It is a banned movement. The Indian community wanted an umbrella movement to voice their problems. It turned to Hindraf but that organisation could not help it.

MIC did not make itself easily accessible to people to voice their issues. But all that is changing. We have to serve the people. This is not the time to abandon those who left us.

MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu has been urged to name his successor, who will contest the deputy president’s post, to prevent in-fighting within the party when he leaves the scene.

Samy Vellu who was returned unopposed as president on Sunday – his 11th term – had stated that he would not again seek re-election.

MIC national youth advisory council chief S. Ramis, who made the call, said this would also ensure a smooth transition in the party leadership.

“We hope Samy Vellu will choose someone who is new, young, vibrant and capable of leading the party,” Ramis said yesterday.

Former deputy president Datuk S. Subra-maniam and incumbent Datuk G. Palanivel should not contest the number two post, he added.

Ramis was looking more to leaders like vice- president Datuk S. Sothinathan; secretary-general Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam, who is Human Resources Minister; and deputy ministers Datuk S.K. Devamany and Datuk M. Saravanan.

Elections for the deputy president, three vice-presidents and 23 central working committee members will be held at the MIC general assembly in September.

Both Palanivel and Sothinathan are actively campaigning to contest the number two post while Subramaniam is still undecided.

Ramis also said that state chairmen who had been holding the post for more than two terms should make way for younger leaders.



MALAYSIAKINI Breaking news MIC polls S Samy Vellu's retains his post as his challenger M Muthupalaniappan had most of his nominations rejected

Muthupalaniappan unlikely to qualify
Samy gets 3,753 nominations

Samy Vellu retains MIC president's post uncontested - the star

Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu retained the post of MIC president uncontested for the 11th consecutive term at the close of the party's presidential nomination in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, according to sources.

The nomination papers of his challenger Datuk M. Muthupalaniappan were rejected.

Muthu’s bid looks bleak

MIC presidential aspirant Datuk M. Muthupalaniappan faces a snag in his bid to challenge incumbent Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, says MIC officials.

According to them, many of the branch chairmen who nominated the former MIC vice-president also nominated Samy Vellu.

“MIC divisional chiefs who checked with the branch chairmen claim that too many nominations secured by Muthupalaniappan had dual nominees (Samy Vellu and Muthupala-niappan).

“Such nominations would be deemed as null and void.”

They said Muthupalaniappan, 66, who had many of those nominations, may not have the sufficient number to submit his papers for the president’s post today.

MIC presidential election steering committee head Datuk K. Viji-yanathan said the party’s constitution and by-laws stated that a branch chairman can only propose or second one candidate.

“If there are instances where a branch chairman nominates more than one candidate, then his nomination would be null and void. If there is more than one nomination by a branch chairman for one candidate, then only one nomination would be taken into account,” he said.

The officials said some branch chairmen had given their nomination to Muthupalaniappan to spite their ineffective division chairmen.

They said some of these chairmen realised their folly when the division leaders sought their nominations for Samy Vellu. “By then, Muthupalani-appan had already taken the forms from them and they could not withdraw their nomination for him.”

The officials said Samy Vellu had 540 nominations, while Muthupal-aniappan claimed to have secured 51.

A candidate needs to secure 50 nominations, with each nomination needing a proposer and five seconders, all branch chairmen, to be eligible to contest.

The MIC president will be picked by the chairmen of the 3,700 branches who would be required to vote in their respective divisions.

The party has fixed today for the nominations and polling on April 12.

When contacted, Muthupalani-appan said the branch chairmen who proposed and seconded him did so on their own accord.

“I did not coerce any of them to nominate me,” he said.

Muthupalaniappan said there were behind-the-scene attempts to get branch chairmen to withdraw their nominations for him.

“Some requested me to give back their nomination forms as they were afraid of being victimised,” he said.

An aide to Samy Vellu said he would respond to any allegation after the nominations.

The Economic Planning Unit (EPU) in the Prime Minister’s Department has allocated RM12mil to improve the livelihood of the Indian community.

Deputy Minister Datuk S. K. Devamany said several programmes were being planned to train Indian youths in vocational courses.

The courses included those in the hospitality and services industry namely tourism, broadcasting, filming, logistics, and entrepreneurship.

“The Government wants the community to realise that many people have benefited from EPU’s efforts,“ he told a press conference after launching the eAcademy, a joint-venture between KnowledgeCom and SAP Malaysia here yesterday.

He said those interested in attending training programmes should register at the Social Strategic Foun­dation (YSS) of the MIC.

“YSS will also consider giving out small loans to those who want to start a business,” he added.
“The EPU has also given out 200 taxi permits to Malaysian Indians through the Entrepreneur Developm­ent and Coorperative Ministry,“ he said.

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