Samy Vellu wants Badawi and Mahathir to bury the hatchet

May 24th, 2008 - 11:29 am ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, May 24 (IANS) Prominent Malaysian Indian leader S. Samy Vellu has come out in support of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is facing a revolt from predecessor Mahathir Mohamad, and wants the two to bury the hatchet. Vellu expressed his support for the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) amidst speculation that lawmakers from the alliance might quit to join the opposition, which might bring down the Badawi government.

Mahathir quit the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), that he had helped found in 1946, to press for Badawi’s resignation after the alliance’s debacle in the March elections.

UMNO and the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) that Vellu leads are members of the BN.

Vellu himself lost the ninth bid to parliament in March and the MIC’s tally came down from 16 to three.

Mahathir has accused Badawi, whom he hand picked in 2003, of damaging not only UMNO but also the other constituents of the Barisan, contributing to their debacle by his style of governing.

The Star newspaper Saturday said that Vellu declined to elaborate further on the conflict between the two leaders. He only said it was sad that Mahathir, who ruled Malaysia for 22 years, had decided to quit UMNO.

“I still believe he (Mahathir) is a very good leader. If he and Datuk Seri Abdullah get together, with his experience and all, it would be more useful for the country to progress further,” he said before opening the Kedah state MIC convention.

Vellu reiterated MIC’s support for Abdullah as prime minister and BN chief, noting that Barisan’s other component parties also supported his leadership.

Vellu said more professionals and youths would be roped in to run MIC branches in a bid to regain the Indian community’s trust and confidence in the party and the BN.

The MIC would have to think of new strategies to woo them into the party as previous approaches may not have been acceptable.

Vellu, who is under fire from the party ranks after the poll debacle, also said the MIC would discard the “old methods” that had prevented members from voicing their ideas and dissatisfaction.

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