KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said that he was willing to work with parties inside or outside Barisan Nasional or even non-governmental organisations that believed in the Government’s policy.
"There are some serious problems in respect of the Indian community and these are genuine problems which need to be addressed.
"We will work with all, political parties in and outside of the Barisan Nasional including nongovernmental organisations.
"The problems have been with us for a long time and it will take a huge effort to make a difference in resolving these problems.
These problems include poverty, higher standard of education at Tamil schools, squatters and creation of business opportunities for Indians," the prime minister told reporters after launching the Malaysian Makkal Sakti Party
Asked if Makkal Sakti would be invited into Barisan, he said it was up to Barisan Supreme Council
Najib said that he agreed to launch the party because he was the PM for all races in the country.
“I also see that the Makkal Sakti has many similarities with the concept of 1Malaysia - that the people come first,” he said.
Makkal Sakti president R.S.Thanenthirran said the party was established because the MIC had failed to meet the needs of the Indian community.
Makkal Sakti, or people's power, would work to regain the Indian community’s support for the Barisan
Thanenthirran, a former coordinator of the now-banned Hindraf, chaired its inaugural meeting and announced that would apply to join the Barisan as soon as possible.
Makkal Sakti was set up three months ago and has 50,000 members.
About 3,000 members gave Najib a rousing welcome on Saturday.
Meanwhile, MIC Youth chief T. Mohan said that every citizen had the right to form any party but the motives must be genuine.
He questioned the motives of Makkal Sakti chief R.S. Thanenthiran, who was a former Hindraf national co-ordinator.
“I am surprised that Thanenthiran, who used to condemn Barisan leaders and say that the Barisan government was a useless government is now saying that only Barisan can help the Indian community,” he said.
In GEORGE TOWN, Gerakan secretary-general Teng Chang Yeow said that the support shown by Barisan’s top leadership for the newly-formed Malaysia Makkal Sakti Party showed that the coalition did not have enough confidence in MIC, PPP and Gerakan.
“It looks like the role of these three parties and our influence with the Indian community is so negligible that they have to turn to another party to get that support,” he said when contacted Saturday.
Teng said the Barisan leadership was attempting to win back the Indian backing by supporting the establishment of Makkal Sakti, but it also had to look at how MIC, PPP and Gerakan, which had Indian members, could come to terms with Makkal Sakti.
In KLANG, Coalition of Indian NGOs secretary Gunaraj George said it was good to have another political party representing the Indians given the dire situation the community was in currently.
“The Malaysian Makkal Sakti Party may have been registered as a multi-racial party but in reality it was formed by Indians who had actively participated in the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) which was solely championing the rights of the Indians,” Gunaraj said when contacted by The Star.
He added that it was now left to be seen if the party could deliver and meet the aspirations of the Malaysian Indian community which had lost confidence in the government.
“Hopefully Makkal Sakti is able to achieve what the other Indian-based political parties have not been able to,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tamil Foundation president K. Uthayasoorian said it might not have been that good of an idea for the Prime Minister to have launched the party Saturday.
“The founders of the party are political novices who came into the limelight only after the five Hindraf leaders had been arrested under the ISA in December 2007.
“Because of this, they may not have earned the credibility to helm a political party purportedly representing the needs of the Indian community,” he said.
Uthayasoorian also said there was no point in Najib launching the party if the authorities had no intention of meeting Hindraf’s 18-point demand that Makkal Sakti leaders had once championed.
“Hopefully, the government of the day will also show its support to the Indian community at large by sanctioning the 18-point demand which is geared towards the upliftment of the Indian community.”
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