Opinion: After Effects Of The Malaysian Indian Blueprint – Krishnan Maniam
After years of brainstorming and research involving creditable individuals and organisations, the government launched a comprehensive 10-year plan for Malaysian Indians in the Malaysian Indian Blueprint (MIB). As is with any initiative, the initial response was conflicting. Pro-opposition representatives called it an elections gimmick while spokespersons from the government heaped praises.
However, for the first time ever, even opposition members admitted to its comprehensive content and acknowledged the initiative, but voiced concerns on implementation.
Today, a couple of months before its one-year anniversary, people are still speaking about the MIB. Just as the opposition claims that the ruling coalition often ridicules Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad because they are shaken up by his actions joining Pakatan, one can conclude that the opposition is shivering with the MIB and its movement that they often speak about and deride it.
The most recent Amanah Saham 1Malaysia (AS1M) investment scheme has received a lot of flak from the opposition half. Some claim that this initiative does not suit the B40 group as B40 families are already struggling financially with daily living requirements. Where do they find the money to buy these shares? If one inquires further into this scheme, you would realize that AS1M is a dual-phase initiative. The second-phase, which is set to be launched, soon would be allocation of RM5000 interest free loans to 100,000 B40 families that would enable them to participate in AS1M. In the long term, the PNB investment scheme is to ensure at least 50% of registered poor households demonstrate increase savings in the next 10 years. Hence, it is not like giving one-off sweets for the election as what the Opposition does with their manifestos prior to every general election.
While some families see financial limitations as their main problem, they’re those with other concerns such as documentation issues, housing problems, education, and work opportunities. While Mahathir successfully promoted single-ethnic favouritism in the civil sector and dwindled the numbers of Indians in government service, the MIB aims to increase recruitment into the civil service to seven percent, as with enrolment into public universities for Malaysian Indians.
Of 12,726 cases of documentation issues identified through MyDaftar campaigns since 2010, seven thousand plus Indians have already got their issues resolved while the rest are in process according to online sources.
It is heartening to know that the Selangor government is also playing its part aiding the less fortunate Indians through their Indian Entrepreneurs’ Programme (IEP) by providing numerous skills training. The awareness of skills training for the B40 group has definitely increased over the years. MySkills Foundations is aanother non-governmental organisation that also provides similar training aids for underprivileged youths. The Federal Government recognizes such NGOs and gives aid to them as well. Over the past few years, more than RM 200 millions has been provided for NGO’s and skill training providers that has benefitted nearly 500,00 Indians nationwide through SEDIC.
Quite frankly, initiatives to uplift the Indian community have been ongoing for several years already. The MIB is a document that puts the pieces together and sets goals with a target. Since it is a government initiative and not a political one, politicians from the opposition should come together and work with the government to absolve problems facing the B40 group.