Government has given large grants to Malaysian Indians: Vellu

March 3rd, 2008 - 4:34 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, March 3 (IANS) Malaysian Indian Congress President S. Samy Vellu said the government had given large grants for the benefit of the ethnic Indian community, countering allegations by the opposition in the lead up to the 12th general elections Saturday. He said that in recent years, 300 million ringgit ($13 million) had been given as grants to the Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology University that is run by MIC.

He also said almost 100 million ringgit was allocated under the Ninth Malaysia Plan to help rebuild Tamil schools, of which 30 million was approved recently, The New Straits Times reported Monday.

“The government also gave us an initial grant of 8 million ringgit to build the TAFE College in Seremban that has produced 44,000 para-professionals,” Vellu said in a statement to rebut allegations that the government did little or nothing to help the community.

The opposition, he alleged, had spread “lies after lies” to win the election, the newspaper said. Vellu’s MIC is part of the ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional.

“I want to ask the opposition: what are your plans for the Indians and what have you done for them?” Vellu asked.

“They (the opposition) tell the people that the Barisan Nasional government does not help Indians. They are the greatest liars.”

Vellu said the federal government had also allocated 1 million ringgit annually for building temples, apart from providing land.

“For the first time, Indian students were allowed into Giat Mara centres to pursue their education,” he said, adding that over 1,000 Indians had benefited from this move.

Giat Mara is a non-profit organisation specifically formed to provide technical and vocational training skills.

He said the government also provided places for high-achieving Indian youth at Mara Junior Science Colleges.

“These institutions were traditionally accessible to Bumiputera youth. However, through the efforts of MIC, Indian youth (also) have access to them.”

Vellu pointed out that Indian youth received an allocation of 4 million ringgit through the Economic Planning Unit last year, of which 1 million was allocated to 200 Indians from poor urban families who could not secure places at skills training institutes.

Under the 2008 budget, the finance ministry allocated 3 million ringgit for micro loans of 3,000 ringgit each through Amanah Ikthiar Malaysia for 1,000 Indians who are undertaking or interested to undertake micro businesses, the leader said.

Vellu added that the government had also allocated 5 million ringgit to enable 1,000 Indian youths who had failed their examinations to enrol in skills training courses.

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