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Sunday October 11, 2009

Najib: We’ll work to help Indians

SERDANG: The Government is willing to work with any group in or outside the Barisan Nasional to help alleviate problems faced by the Indian community, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak.

He said it would require a gargantuan effort from both the Government and others to effectively resolve all the problems besetting the community, especially poverty, academic underachievement, housing and economic opportunities.

“There are some serious problems in respect of the Indian community and these are genuine problems which need to be addressed.

Alternative party: Thanenthiran putting on a sash for Najib during the launch of the party Saturday.

“These problems have been with us for a long time and we will work with all, political parties in and outside the Barisan including NGOs, to resolve them,” he told reporters after launching the Malaysian Makkal Sakti Party (MMSP) here yesterday.

Asked if the new party would destabilise and weaken the MIC, the sole Indian-based party in Barisan, Najib said:

“No, it is not as it seems. These people want to support Barisan, my leadership and the Government but they are not ready to be in the MIC and they want to form their own political party.

“So, let it be. This is their choice.”

Najib also denied suggestions that he had instigated the formation of the MMSP, but said it would be good for Indian-based political parties to consolidate to form a bigger entity.

Asked if MMSP would be Barisan’s trump card in winning back the support of the community, which deserted the coalition in the 2008 general election, Najib said it was up to the people to decide.

MMSP president R.S. Thanenthiran said the party would apply to join Barisan as soon as possible, especially since the Prime Minister had already stated that there was room for other Indian-based parties to be part of the coalition.

“The Indians need an alternative party in Barisan so that their issues can be solved,” he said, adding that MIC, due to the weakness of its leadership, had failed to help the Indians.

“If MIC leaders had done their job well, do you think Makkal Sakti would exist?” he asked.

The party, he said, has already attracted 57,000 members since it was set up three months ago, and it hoped to expand it to at least 200,000 before the next general election.

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