12 April, 2009

MIC denies move to pull out minister from cabinet

MIC information chief Datuk M. Saravanan said that while there was a general feeling that the party lacked strong representation in the cabinet, there was no way that the party would resort to such drastic action.

He said that increasing the quota for ministerial posts or reshuffling the cabinet posts was the prerogative of the prime minister and that no one but the party president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu could discuss the issue with the prime minister.

On whether he thought that Indians were sidelined especially after Samy Vellu's defeat in the March 8 general election last year, he said more opportunities had been given to the community since the polls.

MIC grassroots members may be unhappy with Indian representation in the cabinet but the party leadership has no plans to pull its sole minister out of the cabinet.

According to reports here and here, the MIC is mulling over the possibility of withdrawing its sole Cabinet post and its two deputies. MIC officials are said to be unhappy that the party has only been given the Human Resources Minister's post, held by Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam, which the party feels is too junior for the party.

Dr Subramaniam said the report was "wrong and mischievious".

"We have not heard about such a move. Whatever decision on any matter concerning the party has always been discussed with the party president in the central working committee.

"If there are any differences within the Barisan Nasional, they will be discussed behind closed doors and resolved amicably."

The story quoting an insider within the party had alleged that the party would decide raise the matter at the central working committee.

One of the main reasons cited for the possible pull-out was that there was no senior ministerial portfolio for the MIC despite numerous appeals by the party to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his predecessor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to return the Works Ministry to the party.

The insider had claimed that Subramaniam's post was a relatively junior portfolio compared with the latter.

The post had been traditionally allocated to the MIC.

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