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Cabinet committee to iron out Indian issues

KUALA LUMPUR, 5 Feb 2009: Several pressing issues affecting the Indian Malaysian community, including their equity participation, are likely to be addressed at the second meeting of the Cabinet Committee for the Development of Indians on 23 Feb, said MIC president Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu today.

He said the committee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, would discuss the MIC’s proposals, including the setting-up of a mechanism to increase the Indians’ equity participation from the current 1.2% to 3% by 2020.

During the Eighth Malaysia Plan period (2001-2005), the Indians’ equity dropped from 1.5% in 2000 to 1.2% in 2004.

One major reason for the reduction in the equity of the Indian community was the slow rate of equity growth. Indian Malaysians’ equity grew at 5.6 per cent as compared to the Chinese Malaysian equity which grew by 12.4% and bumiputera’s 12.3%.

However, there was an increase in Indian Malaysian ownership of commercial buildings and premises from 2.9% or 9,004 buildings in 2002 to 4.6% or 11,473 buildings in 2005. 

The MIC had suggested that a mechanism be establish within the government-owned Permodalan Nasional Berhad to assist poor Indians to buy shares through 50% grant and 50% loan by the government.

Samy Vellu said several decisions were taken at the first Cabinet Committee meeting last 1 July including streamlining the procedure for bringing in Hindu, Sikh and other priests from India; agreeing to a policy of converting all partially-aided Tamil schools to fully-aided schools; and increasing the number of Public Service Department (PSD) scholarships for Indians studying in foreign universities to 163 students.

He said the government had also approved RM80 million during the last 18 months to redevelop 50 Tamil schools which were in bad shape. — Bernama


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