He also says the government will consider providing full aid to qualified Tamil schools.
KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak rolled out a list of pro-Indian policies before a large crowd gathered at the Ponggal festival celebration last night, including the pledge to increase Indians’ economic equity in the country to 3%.
He told some tens of thousands of Indians at Dataran Merdeka that his cabinet would also come out with three additional scopes of work with regards to the community.
“These are namely, to increase Indians’ equity to three percent, to provide access in higher education and to find ways to reduce crime rate and the involvement of Indians in crimes,” he said to a cheering crowd.
Though the latest Indian equity figure was unclear, it was reported that the Indian equity has dropped from 1.5% to 1.2% during the period of Eight Malaysia Plan (2001-2005).
The premier also promised to look into converting qualified partially-funded Tamil vernacular schools (SJKT) to be fully-funded. He did not explain how schools would qualify for this scheme.
He said he would discuss with Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin who is also the Education Minister about the possibility of converting these schools in stages.
He added that his government would also award university college status to the MIC-run Tafe College in Seremban, and allocate funds to build 15 community centers and 15 crematoriums.
“The 13th general election will be held soon, I can assure you that I would not disappoint the expectation and aspiration of the Indian community.
“It’s important for us not to split vote to the opposition. If we stand united and vote for all BN candidates in the coming GE, and for sure we will conduct more reforms,” he told to rousing applauds.
Najib acknowledged that the challenges and problems faced by the Indian community must be given due consideration by the BN government.
“Please give me ‘nambikei’ (trust), please believe and have confidence in me. If you give me and the BN government ‘nambikei’ we will certainly do more for the success of the Indian community in the country,” he said.
The celebration, themed at “Otrumei Ponggal” (Ponggal Unity), saw two stages being erected in the iconic square and local artiste such as David Arumugam, Reshmonu and DJ Dave belting out a two-hour performance.
Banners had been hung all over the streets in KL a week ago calling for the Indians to join the huge rally with Najib.
“They don’t have to pay anything, just come here and enjoy,” said Taman Sri Plentong MIC branch chairman P Kauthaman from Johor Bahru.
Also present were Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor, MIC president G Palanivel, Information, Communications and Culture Minister Rais Yatim, Federal Territories and Urban Well-Being Deputy Minister M Saravanan and Malaysia’s Special Envoy (Infrastructure) to India and South Asia, S Samy Vellu.