He said this was because in the March 2008 general election, they had taken for granted the support from the Indian masses who had been traditionally voting for the BN and ensuring a huge victory for the ruling coalition.
“Our task has been to win them back. This has been our priority. We have made a lot of progress over the last 18 months or so, and we must keep moving and not look back,” he said when opening a workshop on 'Reinventing and Reconnecting' for MIC leaders.
He stressed that it was the duty of every party leader, “right from the president to the branch chairmen”, to maintain a close and cordial relationship with the Indian masses without compromising on their effectiveness to deliver.
“The Indian community has placed their hope on us to deliver and we must work hard to regain their trust,” he said.
Samy Vellu said the party could not afford to have “complacent leaders” who did not take seriously their role and responsibilities to the party and community.
“I have noticed that there is now a political reawakening among many party (MIC) leaders. They feel the need to reshape their mind and responsibilities to better serve the community,” he said.
Samy Vellu attributed this to the series of workshops and rejuvenation efforts undertaken by the party and the “hard stance” taken on many issues involving the Indian community.
The four colours of Indian voters
Later, speaking to reporters, he said that during the next 12 months, the MIC would update its voter data bank.
He also said that the Indian voters would be classified under four colours, namely green (which would group the BN's “fixed deposit” Indian voters), yellow (for those who would likely abandon the BN if poorly managed), red (for party members and people whom the MIC has lost and has to win back) and white (which would group potential members and voters).
“Through this classification, we will be able to plan our strategies and focus on each group in a bid to win them over for the BN,” he added.