By : K Pragalath
MIC has come forward in defence of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s use of the term “fixed deposit” in relation to the Indian community.
It’s communications chief, S Vell Paari said that the opposition, Pakatan Rakyat, had in fact used it even before Najib did.
“It is the opposition who first started using the term fixed deposit in reference to a particular segment of the voting community,” he said.
Yesterday Najib received flak from Indian community leaders over a speech that he made at the 66th MIC AGM on Sunday.
In his speech Najib said: “In the 11th general election (2004), the BN had its fixed deposit in the Indian voters. In the 12th general election, the Indian fixed deposit moved from the BN bank to the opposition bank.
“Maybe our interest rates were not good in 2008 for the Indian fixed deposit votes but over the last three years I have raised the interest rates and they are making a comeback to the BN bank. The confidence on the BN government is back.”
This speech resulted in three Indian community leaders – S Ambiga of Bersih, K Arumugam of Tamil Foundation and A Jayanath of Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia – to dispute the notion of Indians being a fixed-deposit for BN.
Elaborating further, Vell Paari said that DAP leaders had used the term “fixed deposit” after the DAP won 12 state seats in Sarawak last year.
“If you feel that it is insulting, you should take the opposition to task as well,” he said.
He added that Najib was merely quoting Palanivel who had used the term “fixed deposit” during the latter’s address on Sunday and questioned why the people are not talking about Najib’s readiness to recognise the contributions of the Indian community.
Personally, Vell Paari felt that the term “fixed deposit” should not be used by either side of the political divide.
“Let’s get rid of this term from our political vocabulary,” he said.
On the issue of stateless Indians, the MIC leader extended an olive branch to PKR vice -president, N Surendran.
“I’m not here to argue about the numbers. MIC is registering stateless Indians through the MyDaftar program and PKR has found stateless Indians. Let’s work together and resolve the issue once and for all,” he said.
Surendran claimed that there are 300,000 stateless Indians. The number is disputed by Najib and MIC.
In connection to this Surendran, who is a lawyer, would be leading a sit-in protest in front of National Registration Department tomorrow at 10am in Putrajaya.
Vell Paari also welcomed the protest tomorrow, saying that protests were essential for good governance.
“We also need people like Surendran so that we (BN) are not complacent,” he said.
He added that the number of stateless Indians can be reduced if the National Registration Department provides citizenship documents to children who have one Malaysian parent.-fmt