Malaysian Indian Congress not withdrawing from government

April 13th, 2009 - 12:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, April 13 (IANS) The Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) has said it is not planning to withdraw from the government over last week’s allotment of portfolios by
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

MIC leaders said that reports about it being unhappy are “rumours”, and denied it was meeting Friday to consider withdrawal.

MIC deputy president G. Palanivel said he was not aware of any meeting of top party officials Friday to consider a proposal to pull out the party’s representatives from the cabinet.

“If such a meeting was held, I would have known about it,” New Straits Times quoted him as saying Monday.

The party that speaks for the two million-plus Indian community chose to step back even as partners of the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) pointed out that choosing ministers and allocation of portfolios was the prerogative of the prime minister.

Razak last week retained S. Subramaniam as the Human Resource Minister besides two junior ministers belonging to the MIC in his new team.

Razak and most of his ministers belong to the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) the party that represents the majority Muslim Malays.

MIC sources said the human resource ministry was a ‘junior’ portfolio and the party’s nominees in the government had handled more important Communications and Works portfolio.

Palanivel said in many countries, ministries for human resources, social development and environment were considered important and were often held by senior ministers.

“As such, I will not term the Human Resources Ministry as a junior ministry.

It is an important ministry centred on human capital development.

“I feel, given his relative new experience, our Human Resources Minister Datuk Subramaniam is doing a good job. Our two deputy ministers Saravanan and Datuk S.K. Devamany are also doing a good job.”

However, Palanivel hoped the MIC is given greater representation in future in the cabinet and in other decision-making bodies in the government, its agencies and government-linked companies.

Commenting on reports that MIC might withdraw its minister and two deputy ministers from the cabinet to protest over the lack of importance accorded to the Indian community, Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) President Ong Tee Keat said it is only fair for anyone to make comments after the MIC had formally raised the issue.

“For instance, to withdraw from the cabinet, their decision must be brought up to the prime minister.

“Prior to such a move, I do not think it is appropriate for us to jump to a conclusion.”

MCA speaks for the 33 percent ethnic Chinese population.

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