I will decide, Malaysian PM tells coalition partners

Kuala Lumpur, April 15 (Inditop) Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has said Indian and Chinese partners in the ruling coalition were free to air their views on government-formation but he would be the one to decide.

Razak, who took office April 3, is scheduled to chair his first cabinet meeting Wednesday.

Razak was responding to demands by the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) for better representation and allocation of ‘senior’ portfolios and of the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) for the post of a second deputy prime Minister.

“I am the one who will decide,” Razak was quoted as saying by New Straits Times Wednesday.

Along with the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the MCA and the MIC are major partners of Barisan Nasional (BN) that has ruled the country since the independence in 1957.

Malaysia has majority Malays, 33 percent ethnic Chinese and eight percent Indians.

Three MIC nominees in the Razak government are Human Resource Development Minister S. Subramaniam and two junior ministers, M. Sarvanan and K. Devamani.

Media reports said Razak wants to begin his tenure by reviewing the controversial Internal Security Act (ISA).

“We want it (review) to be done very soon. I will discuss this with the home minister. I have some ideas but I will have to discuss them with him first. Then, we will announce it when the time comes,” Razak said.

Razak, on his first day as the country’s sixth prime minister, freed 13 ISA detainees and lifted the suspension of two opposition papers-Harakah and Suara Keadilan.

Those released include an Indian national with fake travel documents and two activists of the Hindu Rights Action Front (Hindraf).

Three more Hindraf activists, who staged a protest rally in November 2007, are still in jail under ISA. They are serving two-year terms.