The directors in NAAM have been given the task to transform Indian youth and make the programme a success.
PETALING JAYA: The newly minted New Affirmative Action Movement (NAAM), aimed at propelling Indian youth towards entrepreneurship, will have an impressive array of directors, including two prominent lawyers and two well known academicians.
The movement which comes under the Youth and Sports Ministry and spearheaded by deputy minister M Saravanan as its chairman, has six individuals as its board of trustees from different backgrounds.
This is set to be an advantage to NAAM, which has been given a RM37 million grant by the government.
NAAM’s board of trustees consist Dr Mohamed Haniffa, the executive chairman of Mahsa University, Dr Krishnan Maniam, from University Malaya’s Indian studies department, veteran politician Dr L Krishnan, chartered accountant Madhu Marimuthu and two well known legal eagles Saseedharan KPB Menon and Selva Mookiah.
“I believe we have a good mix of people as trustees. Their experience and expertise will be an added advantage to this movement. We want to tap into their wealth of expertise to make this venture a success,” Saravanan told FMT in an interview recently.
NAAM, which held its headquarters official opening two days ago, aims to produce a pool of 100,000 skilled and capable Indian youths with increased productivity and assimilation into the country’s mainstream economy.
The movement which has also been picked as the strategic partner for the cabinet committee on Indian Affairs, would screen and identify these youths and arm them with skills to be economically stable.
“I want to emphasise that NAAM will not be asking for money from those who want to join. We encourage them to go into agriculture for starters. If someone has a small plot of land, just say one to two acres, they can meet us, obtain our expertise and go into agriculture in a big way. We will also try to get them loans through Tekun for them to start their own agriculture business.
“The government is serious in wanting to boost Indian youth economically and this is a good programme to achieve the aim. The Prime Minister (Najib Tun Razak) and Youth and Sports Minister (Khairy Jamaluddin) have placed the trust on us to deliver. On the government’s part, they have set aside funds for the start-up. Now its up to the community to take it up,” said Saravanan.
NAAM has no political agenda
Najib, in NAAM’s corporate profile, said the movement had a clear role to play in the uplifting of Indian youth in the country.
“By understanding the challenges of our youth and subsequently, in channelling their energy and enthusiasm towards entrepreneurship and business, NAAM is effectively creating the right contest for young people to thrive and succeed.
“The government looks forward to forging precisely these kinds of partnerships as we build our capacity to realise the vast potential our youths have to offer,” said Najib.
Although NAAM seems to be ‘closely’ linked to the MIC, Saravanan argues that NAAM does not have any political agenda.
“Our only agenda is uplifting of Indian youth. Before the launch, we held discussions with the cross section of the Malaysian Indian community from business leaders to small entrepreneurs. We even held discussions with the Indian opposition elected representatives.
“Everyone said that this was a good idea. What we need now is to ensure the implementation goes according to plan. The first roll out of Indian entrepreneurs from NAAM should be by the end of the year…much has been said on the matter and now its time to walk the talk,” said Saravanan, who is also MIC vice-president.