KUALA SELANGOR: A key agenda of the Barisan Nasional government is to improve the standard of living of the Indian community and to ensure the advancement of its people, which remains a work in progress, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said yesterday.
The Prime Minister said this could not be attained in a day or two because it involved not only physical development but also changes to the structure of the life of the community.
“Changing the attitude and values as well as strengthening the foundation of the Indian community is a work in progress. I agree with MIC president Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam who said in his speech that the Indians will advance more if they can strengthen unity among themselves.
“This is a challenge that we face but I can assure you that with BN leading the government, there is hope for us. What we need is your support and trust so that the BN government can give you the best.
“We are not engaging in empty talk or ‘vetti pecchu’ in Tamil, but we are talking the truth or ‘nijjam’,” he said when addressing worshippers and others at the Thaipusam celebration at the Sri Subramaniar Swamy Temple here.
Besides Dr Subramaniam, Urban Well-being, Housing and Local Government Minister Tan Sri Noh Omar and Kuala Selangor MP Datuk Seri Irmohizam Ibrahim were present at the event.
Najib said the agenda of the BN government in improving the standard of living of the Indian community was translated through the Malaysian Indian Blueprint that was launched in April last year.
He said he had also announced a RM50 million allocation for the Socioeconomic Development of the Indian Community (Sedic) Unit, a RM50 million allocation for the National Entrepreneurial Group Economic Fund (Tekun) and a RM50 million allocation for the maintenance and repair of Tamil schools.
Najib also said that the government had announced new initiatives whereby Permodalan Nasional Berhad would make a special distribution of RM1.5 billion additional units of the Amanah Saham 1Malaysia for the Indian community, limited to 30,000 units per investor.
“In February, I will launch a special investment scheme for the B40 households which will increase the savings of 100,000 B40 Indian households, especially those below the poverty line.”
Najib said he understood that the Indians wanted quality education for their children and economic opportunities as well as the settlement of their citizenship woes and other issues.
“I pledge that the BN government will safeguard the right to freedom of religion and respect for other faiths,” Najib said to applause from the estimated 5,000 people who were present at the temple.