Friday, July 11, 2008

MIC Leaders Meet To Chart The Partys Future Direction

KUALA LUMPUR, July 11 -- After its worst ever performance in the March 8 general election, the MIC will push ahead with reforms when its 3,300 branch chairmen gather here tomorrow to chart the future direction of the 62-year-old party.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will open the partys 62nd general assembly at the Putra World Trade Centre where he is expected to "open the path" towards the party's rejuvenation, MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said Friday.

"The delegates will hear from the prime minister himself on what and how the government and the MIC can work hand-in-hand to better serve the Indian community, he said in a statement to Bernama here.

He said the one-day assembly would receive a further boost with the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The focus would be the MICs rebranding exercise.

"Our objective is to introduce the concept of rebranding to all branch and divisional leaders to ensure that it is well understood by them," he said.

He said the MIC would conduct 18 workshops with 72 training sessions with 50 participants for each session. A total of 3,600 grassroot leaders would be involved.

"This exercise is aimed at generating new ideas from the branch and divisional leaders. We will conduct the training sessions to ensure that the concept of rebranding is accepted in the hearts and minds of every leader, he said.

To achieve that objective, the party had developed a Rebranding Manual which will guide the leaders to implement changes and transformation at the branches and divisions, he added.

Another area of concentration at the assembly would be the governments decision to form the special Cabinet Committee, chaired by the deputy prime minister, to look into the needs of the Indian community.

He said that at its first meeting on July 1, the committee, among others, agreed in principle to convert the 372 partially-aided Tamil schools into fully-assisted schools and ensure at least eight per cent of Indian representation at all levels in the civil service.

The committee also decided that the MIC-run Asian Institute for Medicine, Science and Technology (AIMST) be re-categorised as one of the five private universities which recognise government-sponsored students to boost the intake of Indian students into critical sectors like medicine and engineering.

It also agreed that Indian entrepreneurs be given more opportunities in the development of vendor development schemes through companies like state-owned oil firm Petronas and national car-maker Proton, while there would be easier access to government loans for Indian entrepreneurs, he said.

Other decisions included more taxi and bus permits for Indian companies and increasing the Indian corporate equity from the current 1.1 per cent to 1.5 per cent in 2010 where the government was planning to set up a unit trust scheme based on the Permodalan Nasional Berhad model to allow Indians to invest in the scheme to increase their equity in the market.

"These are some of the decisions made by the Cabinet Committee. It is a step in the right direction," Samy Vellu said, adding that the party would raise more issues at subsequent meetings of the committee.

He said the biggest challenge now was to ensure that these decisions were implemented, and to achieve that, a monitoring team would be established within the MIC.


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