`Malaysian Indians not aware of economic opportunities'

Monday, 27 April 2009, 08:25 Hrs
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Kuala Lumpur:Malaysian Indians are generally unaware of economic opportunities the government offers, including loans for farming and to start own businesses, two ministers from the community have said.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department T. Murugiah, an ethnic Indian, blamed "lack of exposure" to the country's two million-plus ethnic Indian community for not being aware.

"After I was appointed deputy minister, I visited many ministries and discovered many opportunities open for all, not just Bumiputeras (the Malays).

"Because there is little exposure, the Indian community do not know what has been made available by the government," he said after launching a Small Businesses and Agro-Farming Seminar here Sunday.

He said the series of seminars were the government's response to the November 2007 Hindraf's protest rally. The rally was banned and its organisers were jailed. Three of the five leaders were released earlier this month "in a spirit of reconciliation" by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

The day-long seminar at Klang in Selangor state was attended by some 2,000 participants. It was aimed at creating more awareness about business opportunities for the community.

Murugiah, who is in charge of Indian Affairs in the Prime Minister's Department, said:

"I want to create awareness so that Indians understand what has been done for them by the government."

He urged ethnic Indians, who form eight percent of Malaysia's 28 million population, "not to approach unrelated parties without first approaching ministries" to find out what was available for them, New Straits Times said.

So far, some 12,000 Indians have participated in the seminar.

In George Town in Penang state, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department S.K. Devamany said the government was working very hard to resolve problems concerning the Indian community.

He said much research had been done into identifying problems affecting the community.
Source: IANS
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