Anwar: Under me, Indian community never sidelined; Malaysia a country for all

SHAH ALAM: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today the government has never sidelined the Indian community, and various programmes have been designed to assist the community.

He said every programme implemented was universal and encompasses all races in the country in line with the Malaysia Madani aspirations.

Citing as an example efforts to eradicate hardcore poverty, Anwar said this had almost been completely done, regardless of race, in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Melaka and Penang.

"If I don't do anything to help the Indian community, they have the right to criticise me. I don't care whether they are Malays, Chinese, or Indians, successful or not, I care about the majority who are underprivileged.

"That's why I say the first priority is to eradicate poverty, and coincidentally, in terms of numbers, it's the Malay community, but in terms of the ratio, in Kuala Lumpur and Negri Sembilan, the community that benefits the most is the Indian community.

"I don't look at it from a racial perspective; if they are hardcore poor, they should be helped," he said in his speech in opening the Fifth International Convention and Celebration of Indian statesman Dr Ambedkar's 133rd Birthday and Hari Raya celebration, here.

Anwar also said Malaysian Indians were integral to the country and that as prime minister, the community has his special attention and that of the Prime Minister's Office.

"Let me illustrate one area where I have listened to your concerns, my Indian brothers and sisters. We have listened, and indeed, we do care immensely.

"I am pleased to say that the Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (Mitra) has now been returned back to the responsibility of the Prime Minister's Office, directly under my purview."

Anwar, however, said that Mitra was not the only avenue for the Indian community to uplift itself.

"For instance, the government is also devoting resources to Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia and Tekun Nasional, which also provide valuable assistance to the Indian community, nationwide.

"This also includes repairing essential basic sanitary infrastructure in our Tamil schools."

Anwar said there was no place in today's Malaysia for discrimination of any race, as achieving greater equality must be a central goal for all Malaysians.

He said the country must stop bickering over petty issues, sowing the seeds of discord and hatred among races in the country.

"If we want Malaysia to survive, we must go back to core values and principles of humanity, justice and unity because that can ensure our success.

"If I'm given the confidence as prime minister, I will not compromise in making this a country for all Malaysians, regardless of race."

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