Tuesday, January 22, 2008




The ‘last’ Barisan Nasional Supreme Council meeting yesterday did not touch on the much-speculated general election and there was no discussion on BN candidates too. Instead, the meeting focused on development issues with the BN Chairman and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi directing all 13 coalition component parties to be frank and to tell the people what the BN-led Government had done for them. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said many development issues were discussed and that “it was more on development, nothing to do with the general election ... we did not discuss candidates either”. Works Minister Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu said Abdullah had instructed all component parties to be frank and tell what had been done by the Government so far. “He wants us to tell what we have (in store) for the people and how we have managed the people in the country for so many years and the experience we have gained from doing so,” said Samy Vellu, who is also the MIC President. Abdullah chaired a three-hour closed-door BN supreme council meeting, which began about 11. 50 am, at his office and speculation was rife that this would be the last such meeting before the nation’s 12th general election. Samy Vellu said the BN Government wants Malaysia to be a progressive and dynamic nation and the people must not be misled by politicians who are out to smear the name of the Government. “I feel that in recent months there had been a heavy campaign going on against the Government and against each component party. “And all those who carry out these campaigns have a lot of dirt behind them. They are not very clean everyone who wants to campaign carry at least a half a ‘pikul’ of dirt behind them and they put up a facet to say that they are very clean,” he said. He said while the opposition were putting up a facade, the BN Government “does not put up a show but tells the truth” and wants the continued support of the people. “And we believe in the concept of the BN. We believe in the concept of being together for the betterment of the country and I support the PM’s views,” he said. Probed further on what transpired at the meeting, Samy Vellu said a lot of things were discussed and each component party “was very open to air our views to the PM”. “The PM has listened. That is the beauty of the BN leadership. They open two ears to listen. They are not like the opposition with closed ears, who only know how to talk but not do things. “But we know how to talk, we also know how to do things... that is the Government that is there at the moment. We feel that we only have another 12 years for 2020 and by this 12 years the Government feels that the people must be upgraded in (terms of) their living standards,” he added.
He said on MIC’s part, it would get down to the grassroots to explain to the people on the Government’s deeds to date as the party did not want the community “to be taken for a ride by anybody”. Asked if Abdullah had instructed BN component parties to submit names of their respective candidates to contest under the BN banner in the upcoming polls, he said the Prime Minister had not done so. “Usually the PM will never tell component parties to prepare the candidates list, that is the right of the component party leacer ... I have not prepared it,” he said, adding that the BN supreme council meeting yesterday did not discuss the candidates list for the general election. “Even if the election is near the BN supreme council does not discuss candidates. “Candidates are something for (component) party leaders to select. It is the prerogative of the PM to accept or otherwise. He is the final decision maker ... we submit to PM and if the PM says ‘yes’, then we proceed to the next stage,” Samy Vellu said. - - The MIC supremo said the party was prepared for the polls even if it were held tomorrow. “We started our work six months ago. Even if one year later you have to prepare your ground ahead of it. So there is no point of thinking when is the election. Let it come tomorrow, tonight midnight we file the nomination, tomorrow morning we can contest,” said Samy Vellu. Meanwhile, on PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s statement that he wants Malaysia to be a welfare state, Najib said he would want to see first what he could really do. “He wants to make all kinds of promises ... opposition! He promised the Teregganu contractors but he could not fulfill those promises. This time, it’s a national issue. “We know the limitations of the opposition. It’s normal for the opposition to make promises ... for the sun and the moon.” Abdul Hadi, in his manifesto, among others, promises to make Malaysia a welfare state if PAS wins the 12th general election. Towards this end, the party promises to reduce the current fuel price by 10 sen per litre and to abolish the Internal Security Act. - Bernama