Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia pays special attention to its Indian community, especially in terms of its education and economy, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said.
He said the 2023 Budget which was recently tabled in Parliament, announced various initiatives for the Indian community, such as the RM100 million for Indian entrepreneurship development under the Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (Mitra), the Malay Mail reported.
“Previously, Mitra came under the Ministry of National Unity, but it has since been moved to the Prime Minister’s Department to be placed directly under the Prime Minister. This shows the importance of the development of Indians in Malaysia,” Sabri Yaakob said at a tea session with the Indian community in the Bera parliamentary constituency.
“In addition, an allocation of RM25 million was also given to the Indian Community Entrepreneur Development Scheme (SPUMI) under the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives,” he was quoted as saying in the Malay Mail.
Mitra, which started in 2008, is a special unit addressing the aspect of socio-economic development of the Indian community in Malaysia.
Sabri Yaakob’s comments came after opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim called for forensic audits to be done on Mitra. He claimed government funds meant for the Indian community had been misappropriated.
Last year, Mitra was investigated by the Malaysian anti-corruption commission over allegations of misappropriation of funds from 2019 to 2021.
Talking about education, the PM said allocations were also given for the development of Tamil national-style primary schools.
The government, Sabri Yaakob said, had implemented various upskilling and reskilling training sessions which had benefited 42,544 Indian trainees as of August at a cost of nearly RM77 million.
“As for job placement, a total of 68,996 people from the Indian community have been assisted as of September in various fields of skills and industries,” he said.
Malaysian Indians form the third-largest group in Malaysia after the Malays and the Chinese.
The majority of Malaysian Indians are ethnic Tamil people, with other smaller groups such as the Malayalees, Telugus, Sikhs, and others.
Indians make around 7 per cent of the Malaysian population and the number of Indians in Malaysia as of 2022 is around 22.65 lakh.