KUALA LUMPUR, 23 March 2009: Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties must be responsible for the leaders they choose to lead them, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today.
“We don’t interfere in the affairs of any BN component party. We leave it to their members to elect the leaders they think deserve their support through their internal process.
“We hope that the election of leaders in the BN component parties will have an impact on the respective parties…they should be responsible for the leaders they choose,” the deputy prime minister told reporters after opening the bumiputera entrepreneurs symposium organised by Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd (MIDF) here.
He was asked to comment on the election of Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu as MIC president for a record 11th consecutive term after more than 90% of the nominations for his challenger, Datuk M Muthupalaniappan, were rejected by the party’s presidential election committee during nominations yesterday.
Asked whether Samy Vellu’s election would further hamper the BN’s efforts to gain the support of the Indian Malaysian community, Najib said: “There are various opinions but he (Samy Vellu) has been elected by the MIC members so we have to accept it and we have to work hard to convince the Indian community that the BN is serious about their interests.
The deputy prime minister said that the BN had in fact taken various measures towards this end, the latest being the aid given to repair Tamil primary schools as announced in the economic stimulus plan.
Asked whether Samy Vellu’s election would affect the BN’s chances in the 7 April Bukit Selambau by-election, he said: “We’ll see the result then.”
“But for now we are working hard and we must go down to the ground and meet all the voters and convince them that the BN has an agenda to fight for the interests of all races,” he said.
He added that the voters in Bukit Selambau could gauge how well their assemblyperson from the opposition had served them since the general election in March last year.
The Bukit Selambau seat fell vacant after state executive councillor V Arumugan resigned last month. Nomination is on 29 March.
The BN has named Kedah MIC deputy head Datuk S Ganeson, 49, as its candidate. The PKR candidate is 35-year-old entrepreneur S Manikumar. — Bernama