“PH gov’t needs to offer more help to the Indian community”

IN Selangor when Pakatan Rakyat won the election in 2008 ousting Barisan Nasional (BN), a promise to help build a Tamil secondary school in Ijok, near Bandar Bestari was mooted by the Selangor administration but it has not materialised until now.

A new state election could be held anytime now, and the government needs to revisit past electoral promises and act on them.

A secondary school is needed to enable more students from the Indian community to have greater knowledge and proficiency in Tamil to work in the electronic and print media, schools, universities, courts, and government departments to enable the government to reach out to the Indian community through its various programmes.

Presently, Tamil education stops at the primary level, and only a few students continue learning the subject voluntarily for the SPM and STPM exams. The secondary school or college can be privately or government-funded to make it a reality.

The teaching of Tamil should be given more emphasis. English and Bahasa Malaysia, too should be taught to enable students to be employable in the country.

A twinning programme with tertiary institutions in Tamil Nadu, India, can be initiated to attract more local students to go for a higher education in Tamil. Universiti Malaya’s Indian Studies Department can also help out with this initiative.

Recently, newly-minted CEO Datuk R. Ramanan was appointed to Unit Transformasi Masyarakat India Malaysia (MITRA), a government aid agency that acts  as a conduit between the government and the community.

Unfortunately, MITRA and its predecessor had been problem-ridden, the programmes meant to help the community were abused. It is hoped that Sungai Buloh MP R. Ramanan, who is also the new chief will help realise the government’s objectives  through good governance and transparency.

Education and business appear to be the two best ways to progress. Indians in business are hamstrung by the lack of land and loans.

The Selangor government can allocate 100 acres of leasehold land in the outlying districts to be converted into an Indian SME hub. A lot of small-time Indian businessmen involved in a wide array of SMEs, who now pay high rentals, can avail themselves of this opportunity.

They can have partnerships with investors from India who are prospecting to expand their business into Malaysia and the Asean countries.

Recently, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Shri M.K. Stalin made a successful visit to Singapore and Japan for investments and joint ventures. Leaders of the Indian business community can likewise invite him to explore commercial and trade opportunities that will benefit the local community.

The government needs to understand that just giving a budgetary allocation of RM100 mil MITRA will not have a catalysing effect, as would providing land or loans for  commercial activities.

The local authorities can also assist the community by providing allocations and opportunities to start small businesses, much like they help bumiputra small businesses.

A lot of Indian youths have been weaned out of the ‘social ills phase,’ and the youngsters need some alternatives and opportunities to improve themselves . These youngsters are ardent supporters of the unity government and it is time for the government to help them in nation-building. – May 31, 2023


V. Thomas is a Focus Malaysia viewer.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

Subscribe and get top news delivered to your Inbox everyday for FREE