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MIC president SA Vigneswaran has defended his party's invitation for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to address the party's 74th Annual General Assembly held in Klang today.
Amid strained ties between Umno and Bersatu, Vigneswaran (above) said MIC's invitation was not a sign his party had deserted its BN ally to formally join Perikatan Nasional (PN), led by Muhyiddin as Bersatu president.
"You must understand I am still in BN.
"If calling the PM to give a speech is construed as we already jumped to PN, that is the most idiotic thing," Vigneswaran said at a press conference after delivering his policy speech.
MCA president Wee Ka Siong was earlier present during the opening ceremony while Umno head Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Muhyiddin delivered virtual addresses.
"To be fair, we should call him (to make a speech).
"He (Muhyiddin) gave my deputy president a minister's post without the recommendation of BN," Vigneswaran said, in reference to Human Resources Minister M Saravanan.
"That is the truth. Unless somebody can come to dispute it," he added.
While insisting that MIC continues to have a close working relationship with Umno, Vigneswaran said there must be room for disagreement on certain issues.Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi appears via video at the MIC annual general assembly
"For me, I cannot do irrational things. It not only reflects on me, but also on the party.
"Obviously we are very close to Umno. We have been working with them. But certain things... they must give a good reason to questions that I ask.
"Who is going to lead the next general election? People want to know," he added.
Vigneswaran further said people who saw former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad as a strong leader for Pakatan Harapan had given the opposition pact its 14th general election victory.
"So who is going to be leading (BN)? That is one of the biggest questions.
"When I ask that, it is not about criticising the present leadership, no!" he stressed.
"If there's nobody now, who is the best option?
"The best option is the present government," he said, amid a backdrop of simmering discontent within Umno against Zahid's leadership.
Vigneswaran added that MIC should not be faulted for working with Bersatu, as Umno had also chosen to independently work with PAS.
He said Zahid had previously opened BN's doors to other smaller Indian-based parties as well, despite their failure to contribute any seats over the past several general elections.
Muhyiddin earlier hailed MIC for making the right decision in backing PN.
The premier added that he hopes the Indian-based party will continue to do so in the future.
This was amid Umno's plan to cut ties with Bersatu and PN in the next general election, although BN component parties MIC, MCA and PBRS have yet to agree.