Najib woos new Indian Party

KUALA LUMPUR - PRIME Minister Najib Razak will launch a new Indian party next month as he seeks new Indian allies to win back support from the community.

'The Prime Minister has been invited, and will be attending the launch,' his senior press secretary, Datuk Tengku Shariffudin Ahmad, confirmed on Thursday.

The Makkal Sakti party was formed by one faction of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), which shot to prominence two years ago after it led thousands of Indians to protest against their plight. Hindraf splintered into factions after its leaders were jailed. They have since been released.

Datuk Seri Najib's attendance at the Makkal Sakti launch will be seen as a snub to the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) - a founding partner of the Barisan Nasional (BN) - which has been led by Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu for 30 years.

Mr Samy Vellu has been seen as a liability after he lost his long-time Sungai Siput parliamentary seat in Perak in last year's general election. However, he has refused to step down from his MIC post. He kept his president's post unchallenged, while his allies were elected into key posts in a recent party election.

'Unless the MIC does some soul-searching, and for as long as the president is not accepted by the community, the Prime Minister has to look for alternatives,' said Professor Sivamurugan Pandian, a political analyst.

Mr Najib had already made this clear. When he visited the Batu Caves temple during Thaipusam, he did so without Mr Samy Vellu's presence.

When some Malays stepped on a cow's head last month to protest against the building of a Hindu temple in their neighbourhood, Mr Najib had conveyed his message to the community through Human Resource Minister S. Subramaniam.

But while Mr Najib has made a new ally in the Makkal Sakti party, there is no move yet to bring it into the BN. Makkal Sakti is led by former Hindraf national coordinator R. S. Thanenthiran, 47, who insisted that the party will remain independent.

'We are working together with him as partner,' he was quoted as saying by a website. 'It is true the BN did not do much for us in the past 52 years, but the Pakatan Rakyat has done even less for us in the past two years.'

Najib meeting Samy Vellu on succession plan

By V. Vasudevan and Regina Lee

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said he would meet MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu for the second time this year to discuss the party's succession plan.

The Barisan Nasional chief said the former works minister had met him in June to discuss the MIC leadership.

"He had outlined his plan to me. At that time, he said it was not possible for him to go as it would leave the MIC in an unstable situation.

"But now that the party elections are over, it is possible for Samy Vellu and me to discuss the future of the MIC in the context of Barisan Nasional without being seen as interfering in the party's affairs."

Samy Vellu won the party presidency for a record 11th consecutive term in March this year.

Najib said if the MIC was not strong, it would be a burden to the BN.

"We want to see a strong MIC which would be able to win back the support of the Indian community and be in a position to win seats at the next general election."

Asked if he saw Samy Vellu leading the MIC for much longer, Najib said it was not proper for him to speculate.

"I will discuss with him. I don't want to make it public because the discussion will be in confidence."

Najib said he would disclose details only in agreement with Samy Vellu.

"I will have to agree with him on what is appropriate to reveal to the public," he said.

Samy Vellu's position as leader of MIC came under fire last week when former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad described him as a liability to BN's effort to win back the Indian community's support.

However, within MIC, the president appeared to strengthen his hold when a majority of the candidates endorsed by him swept party polls last week.

On MCA, Najib called on delegates to an extraordinary general meeting on Oct 10 to use the occasion to solve the party's problems.

"This EGM should be considered as an effort to solve the party's problems and not as a means to bring destruction to MCA."

He reiterated that it was not the intention of Umno or BN to get involved in MCA's leadership dispute.

He said MCA had to solve its own problems, failing which support for BN would be affected.

"They have to hold the EGM to solve the party's internal crisis, and not destroy the party. The EGM is to ensure that the party regains its strength and it should emerge stronger."

The EGM was convened following the sacking of deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek last month.

However, on Saturday, the MCA central committee reviewed the sacking by its disciplinary board and presidential council, and decided to suspend Dr Chua.

He was suspended for four years with immediate effect.

The EGM would deliberate five resolutions, namely, to move a motion of no-confidence in MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat; to annul the presidential council's decision to expel Dr Chua; to reinstate Dr Chua as party deputy president; to revoke any appointment made before the EGM; and ensure that no disciplinary action is taken against those who petitioned for the EGM.

Najib's Hari Raya Open House

Najib's first open house as PM a huge success

PUTRAJAYA: Hosting his first open house as prime minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak was visibly pleased with the way things turned out.

“This is my first time as host. My wife and I had to do a lot more in terms of preparation. I had to plan the open house and ensure that visitors did not have difficulty in coming here and meeting cabinet members,” he said this afternoon.
Najib said based on what he had been hearing from his aides all day, the open house had proceeded smoothly and visitors had expressed happiness with the arrangements.

He noted that the Information, Communications, Arts and Culture Ministry had also contributed in making the open house a success.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor were pleasantly surprised when more than 50,000 people braved the rain to wish them a “Selamat Hari Raya” at the Seri Perdana.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor were pleasantly surprised when more than 50,000 people braved the rain to wish them a “Selamat Hari Raya” at the Seri Perdana.

Najib's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor was pleasantly surprised when more than 50,000 people braved the rain to wish her and her husband a “Selamat Hari Raya” at the Seri Perdana here.

“I was apprehensive before the open house as I thought many would decide not to come with the influenza A (H1N1) outbreak and the fact that Putrajaya is just too far away for most,” she said.

Rosmah, who barely had time to grab a quick bite, spent the first day of the Raya celebrations meeting and greeting the throngs of people visiting them from 10.30am up to 3pm.

“I personally had a hand organising the entire event and I wanted to make sure everyone was in the mood to fiesta, which is why we had festive music playing all over the gardens and the tents over the residence.”

She was also touched that the crowed consisted of people of all races and religions and all levels of social background.

“It is a beautiful thing to see even people of the opposition party visit today and put aside their differences to unite and celebrate.”

Najib roll out Malaysian F1 Team

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, right, holds a F1 car model during a press conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2009. Malaysia will form its own Malaysia F1 team with the Formula One Federation (FIA) having accepted Malaysia's bid to enter the 2010 and future FIA F1 championships, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said.(AP Photo/Vincent Thian)