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.


Nantha said...

A new unit trust scheme? The debacles of Maika are still fresh in the people's minds. MIC has ceased to be relevant, and rebranding should begin with the party leadership. It is sad to think that those who followed the footsteps of Sambanthan have dragged MIC to the doldrums it lays in today. The milk has already turned sour if you ask me