“Although my father and grandparents are not from Kerala, I’m named the father of development for the Indian community”
KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today hit out at the opposition leaders for lying and confusing the people to instil hatred towards the government.
He said the various allegations and claims by the opposition, including that the government did not care about the Indian community in the country, were all baseless.
Najib said he had made various efforts to help the Indian community, including before he took over as prime minister from Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (Pak Lah) in 2009.
“What has the opposition done for the Indian community compared with what had been done by the government, especially after I took over the country’s leadership.
“When Pak Lah was prime minister, with his permission, I took the initiative to set up the cabinet committee on the affairs of the Indian community in the country, a move to ensure the continued progress of the Indian community, who would be neglected and marginalised if there is no intervention or political will from the government,” he said.
The prime minister said this in his speech when opening the 71st MIC General Assembly at the Putra World Trade Centre here today.
Najib said the country would not progress with leaders who had different ideology.
“It is like the Malay proverb ‘tidur sebantal tapi mimpi lain-lain’ (sharing a pillow, but different dreams). I believe Tun M (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad), Anwar (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim) and (Lim) Kit Siang have different dreams.
“This country cannot be lead by a coalition that is not stable. We cannot risk this country,” he said.
Touching on the various programmes carried out by the government under his administration for the Indian community, Najib said the government had approved RM800 million for development of Tamil schools nationwide since 2010.
The government, he said had also approved RM1.3 billion in loans for small and medium Indian entrepreneurs, with 32,000 of them benefitting through loans from the Entrepreneurial Group Economic Fund (Tekun), SME Bank and Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia.
Najib expressed his appreciation to the Indian community for recognising the efforts he had made in protecting their interests.
“Thank you all, to MIC president (Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam). Although my father and grandparents are not from Kerala, I’m named the father of development for the Indian community,” he said before an audience of more than 4,000 people, comprising MIC members and leaders of other Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties.
He said MIC was now on the right track, as well as becoming a stronger part, especially after the transformation process carried out under Dr Subramaniam’s leadership.
On the Malaysian Action Plan for the Indian Community (MIB) which was launched last April, Najib, who is also UMNO president, said it was not a rhetoric, but a reality for the prosperity of the Indian community.
The government, he said, would continue to move forward in accordance with MIB to ensure its benefit for the Indian community, hence restoring their confidence in the government.
“I have appointed Subramaniam as chairman of the committee for the implementation of MIB. He will report on any constraints or bureaucratic problems, and we will try to resolve them, just give us time,” he said.
On education, the three fields emphasised by MIB, Najib said the government was committed to realise the participation of seven per cent Indian students in public institution of higher learning (IPTA)
He said a total of 3,404 applications to further studies at IPTA were received from Indian students, or 5.6 per cent of the total applications received.
He said 2,934 of the applications were categorised as eligible applicants and 2,199 of them offered places at IPTA.
“In a move to ensure this trend,towards achieving the seven per cent target, is achieved, I have instructed the Higher Education Ministry to give places to 735 eligible applicants,” he said.
Najib said the government would also look into aspect on education financing under the National Higher Fund Corporation ((PTPTN) to meet the needs of those under the B40 group.
The prime minister said he had also appointed Datuk T. Subromaniam as Customs Director-General, despite receiving a petition to not appoint a member of the Indian community for the post.
“He (Datuk T. Subromaniam) is a senior officer and qualified for the post. I stood my ground. We must stand for a fair and justice government,” he said.