Madani govt has never sidelined Indian community - PM Anwar [NSTTV]

PUTRAJAYA: The Madani government has never sidelined the Indian community in the country.

In fact, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said various initiatives have always been implemented to empower this community.

"Our approach is to assist the Bumiputera, but this does not mean it's a zero-sum game. Helping the Malays doesn't mean we sideline other groups. That's why I always stress to the Indian community not to be angry or jealous about Bumiputera programmes.

"Ask what needs to be done; citizenship for those who are eligible? Those who have been left behind? Those born in Malaysia 50, or 60 years ago but didn't get citizenship? We have resolved all that, and this is the first time we see so much have been resolved by the Home Affairs Ministry."

Anwar said this in the 'Soal Jawab Perdana Menteri' programme with four local television channels tonight.

The almost hour-long interview with the 10th Prime Minister of Malaysia is hosted by presenters Sayed Munawar Sayed Mustar of RTM, Pasha Abdul Rahim (Bernama TV), Muhammad Zulfitri Yusof (Awani) and Azaria Tagaya (TV3).

Anwar said that that among the special assistance given to the Indian community was an allocation of RM100 million for the implementation of socio-economic development programmes through the Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (MITRA), and another RM30 million channelled under the National Entrepreneurial Group Economic Fund (TEKUN) in the 2024 Budget.

The allocation through MITRA is for educational programmes; skills training; financial assistance to cover tuition fees for university students from B40 Indian families; and career development programmes for Indian entrepreneurs, including in agriculture, micro, and gig economy sectors.

It also includes social and welfare programmes, as well as cultural, language, spiritual development, and recreational activities for the B40 Indian community.

The RM30 million allocation under Tekun, on the other hand, is for the provision of the Indian Community Entrepreneur Development Scheme (SPUMI) to provide quick and easy micro-financing facilities to Indian entrepreneurs.

Anwar said other initiatives including a special RM50 million fund through Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM) to empower Indian women entrepreneurs, while the government-linked company, Petronas, also provides scholarships for Indian students and employs nearly 1,000 Indian staff, although it is not widely publicised.

Meanwhile, Anwar dismissed claims that the government does not help the Indian community, saying that those who made such claims were the rich who were disappointed with their own party and try to influence the Indians to hate the government.

"Don't say that they have received nothing. If compared to previous years, this is the most we have given to the Bumiputera. This is also the most we have given to the Indian community and also to Sabah and Sarawak in line with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), and even to the Chinese community through small and medium enterprises (SMEs) amounting to tens of billions of ringgit," he said.

Anwar said that the government, through the Ministry of Education, also allocates funds for the maintenance of all types of national schools, including Tamil and Chinese schools.

"Don't listen to one or two people making issues out of the (government grants) RM50 million for Chinese schools when the previous Perikatan Nasional (PN) and the Barisan Nasional (BN) governments also did the same…there is no problem when governments give billions of ringgit to national schools. This is what I meant by subtly inciting and hateful attitude," he said. -- Bernama

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