Malaysian PM Promises RM 10 Million for Indian Muslim NGOs in the Country
Najib Razak announced a blueprint for Malaysian Indians in 2017, and suggested that Indian Muslims should be given Bumiputera status.
In a pre-election announcement, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said that RM 10 million (about $2.5 million) will be given to Indian Muslim NGOs over the next two years if he is re-elected during the 14th general election on May 9. He also promised financial assistance to the community to build halls or complexes.
Razak, who has been trying to woo the Indian Muslim community for the election, had earlier said that they should be given the Bumiputera privileges as well, especially in education. Bumiputera are the Malays and other indigenous peoples of Southeast Asia who have certain privileges that were implemented in the 1970s.
Razak, however, faced backlash for suggesting Bumiputera status for Indian Muslims. Critics have said that if the community can be given the status because they have lived in Malaysia for generations then anybody can be given the privileges.
Razak announced the initiatives for the 600,000 Indian Muslims on May 3, but said that the Bumiputera status would be a problem.
“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 meeting with more than 250 leaders of Indian NGOs and the Indian Muslim community, according to Free Malaysia Today.
Razak added that a new model was required to ensure that businesses did not face shortage of workers and also make sure that locals were preferred over foreign workers, especially for restaurants.
“There must be a way to increase ‘localization’ 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,” Razak said.
He called on the Indian community to vote for the Barisan Nasional, of which he is the chairman, in the upcoming election so that no Indian is left behind. He said that the government needed time to develop the country and benefit all communities, including the Indians and Indian Muslims, who felt that they had been sidelined due to the lack of dedicated program to change their socio-economic status.
Razak had also announced a 10-year plan to alleviate the situation of the Malaysian Indian Blueprint. The blueprint was announced in April 2017 and intends to focus on education, improving livelihoods and better social inclusion for Malaysian Indians.
The government intends to raise Indian participation in the civil service by 7 per cent in all ranks by 2026. It also announced plans to increase the enrollment of Indian students in local higher learning institutions to at least 7 per cent. Indians have also been promised allocation of RM500 million under the Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) specifically for the Bottom 40 per cent or the B40 group within the community, and a special clearance system to grant citizenship to Indians who resided in or were born in Malaya before 1957, to be executed by the home ministry.
About 25,000 Indians could receive citizenship in Malaysia, according to the Star.