PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Najib Razak has announced several initiatives tailored for the 600,000-strong Indian Muslims nationwide.
After understanding the needs of the community, he said a special officer from the Prime Minister’s Office would be appointed after the 14th general election to be responsible for handling issues involving Indian Muslims.
“First of all, on the Bumiputera status for admission into public universities. This may be difficult to resolve due to some constraints.
“However, I will talk to the minister and officials of the relevant ministry after GE14 to address the problems being faced by the Indian Muslim community to enter public universities,” he said after a dialogue-cum-tea session with more than 250 leaders of Indian NGOs and the Indian Muslim community at Seri Perdana here today.
Present were Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Maicci) president K Kenneth Eswaran and Federation of Malaysian Indian Muslim Associations (Permim) president Dhajudeen Shahul Hameed.
Najib also announced an allocation of RM10 million for Indian Muslim NGOs over the next two years and financial assistance to build halls or complexes for the community.
On the problem of hiring foreign workers, especially for restaurants, the prime minister said a new model was needed to ensure the operators would not face a shortage of workers and, at the same time, local workers were not marginalised.
“There must be a way to increase ‘localisation’ of jobs so that we do not entirely become dependent on foreign workers.
“We need to look at the issue in the long run and achieve a win-win situation,” Najib added.
The prime minister called on the Indian community to give the mandate to Barisan Nasional in the upcoming election so that no Indian will be left behind.
Najib, who is also BN chairman, said the government needed time to develop the country and benefit all communities, including the Indians and Indian Muslims, who felt they had been sidelined due to the lack of dedicated programmes to change their socio-economic status.
He said the government had come out with the Malaysian Indian Blueprint, which outlined various initiatives, including citizenship-related matters, admission to public universities, micro-credit assistance, assistance for NGOs and social development.
“It is a very comprehensive plan for the Indian community’s development.
“As such, I am asking for a new mandate from the Indian community as we need a certain period of time to develop the nation, catering to all communities.”
Najib said when Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was prime minister, he (Najib) had proposed that a cabinet committee be established to resolve issues pertaining to the Indian community in the country.
“For the first time in the country’s history, a special cabinet committee was set up for the Indian community,” he said.