Najib sends a chilling message to MIC


The ouster of Terengganu Menteri Besar Ahmad Said has sent a chilling message to MIC president G Palanivel, who is supposed to vacate the party top post in 2016

The ouster of former Terengganu Menteri Besar Ahmad Said, orchestrated by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, has sent a message to Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders that the ruling coalition’s top man means business.

With the move earlier this week, Najib has also dispelled the notion that he was weak in Umno, the backbone of the ruling government, and that “war lords” had taken control of the largest political party in the country.

Earlier this week, the political fraternity was shaken after the prime minister asked for the resignation of Ahmad Said as menteri besar, in a state where the Barisan Nasional had a razor-thin majority.

He knew that the move would cause some ripples, as the crossover of just one state assemblyman in the state which had 32 seats, could tilt the pendulum in the state towards the opposition. And that nearly happened. BN has 17 state seats while Pakatan Rakyat, mainly PAS, held 15 seats.

On the onset, Ahmad Said and two other state assemblymen sent letters stating that they had quit Umno and had become independent assemblymen. PAS was jubiliant as the move would result in the Islamist-based party ruling the state.

But this was not to be. Najib summoned the remaining 14 state assemblymen to Putrajaya sending a message to Ahmad Said that he was boss. With the political wheeling and dealing that ensued, all three renegades, including Ahmad Said, the next day announced that they were back in Umno, putting a damper on PAS’ initial hurrah.

Najib wanted Ahmad Said replaced after the latter agreed to relinquish his position a year, after the 13th general election in May 2013. This was the deal between Ahmad Said and Najib just after the all important general election and Najib expected the ex-MB to keep his promise.

If Najib was brave enough to risk such a change knowing well, that Terengganu could go to the opposition, one can only sum-up that he means business.

This move had sent a message to BN leaders that they need to keep the promise made to the prime minister. One such leaders is MIC president G Palanivel, who late last year had promised that he would leave the component party in 2016.

This deal was made after Najib met four top MIC leaders, namely Palanivel, deputy president Dr S Subramaniam, vice-president M Saravanan and former veep SK Devamany, just before the party’s presidential election in Sept, 2013.

At the meeting Palanivel, in an attempt to avoid challenge from Dr Subramaniam, proposed that he vacate the MIC top post in 2016, giving Dr Subramaniam two years before the next general election, to run the party.

Just after the presidential election, Palanivel appeared to backtrack from this gentleman’s deal, putting up a line-up of his own supporters to contest other important positions in the party.

But this did not go down well with many leaders in the party and Najib had on several occasions reminded the “leaders” to keep their promise.