Government initiatives yield positive results for Indian community?
KUALA LUMPUR-- Initiatives taken by the government to uplift the living standard of the people have yielded many positive results for the Indian community.
Initiatives such as the 1Malaysia People's Shop (KR1M), 1Malaysia Housing Programme (PR1MA), Menu Rakyat 1Malaysia (MR1M), 1Malaysia People's Aid Programme (BR1M), Kedai Ikan Rakyat 1Malaysia (KIR1M) and allocation for Tamil schools, and temples, have been very well accepted by a majority of the Indian community.
"Many say these effort have touched base with the Indians. I don't know what that really means but for me our Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and the Barisan Nasional (BN) government are taking good care of the Indian community's welfare," said a mother of two, A. Vinodini Menon, 60, from Johor Baharu.
She felt that the government's effort in engaging and bringing services and assistance to the people especially the poor of all races have begun to show results and many Indians have gained from it.
"I, for one, have benefitted a lot from the RM500 BR1M aid, and the healthcare provided by government hospital and the Klinik 1Malaysia," she said, adding that being a senior citizen she was glad to see the 1Malaysia concept by Najib was being translated into so many forms that directly benefitted the people.
For an engineering student at Universiti Malaysia Pahang, P. Jasveena, 23, the RM100 assistance to cover "back-to-school" expenses for every primary and secondary school student, apart from free education, was something undreamt of in many other countries.
"We at university level, received a book voucher of RM200 which helps a lot in easing the burden of our parents," she said, adding that it was true that such programmes were the result of good governance and financial management on the part of the BN government.
"Before this, money used on books will take up my National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) money, so I will end up asking my parents for additional money, but this time around the voucher helps a lot," she said.
She also gladly noted that the government has also approved an additional allocation of RM340 million for Tamil schools throughout the country, recently, which she believed had sent a strong message to the Indian community that they had not been neglected.
Meanwhile, civil servant S. Ramesh, in his 50s, said the transformation carried out by the government has built better trust on the current leadership in fulfilling its promises especially with Najib's called for 'nambikei' and for the Indian community to work together with him for a better future for all.
"For instance, the 13 per cent salary increment for us is a good sign of sincere government's effort in appreciating civil servants' contribution to the country and the economy," he said, adding that all Indians in the civil service and their families certainly welcomed it.
The transformation effort had also seen a positive feedback from taxi drivers who had initially complained that their rice bowl was not well taken care of by the government.
Benefits for them include the 100 per cent excise and sales tax exemptions on the purchase of new local taxis, exemption from payment of excise duty and sales tax on taxis sold or transferred of ownership after seven years, and abolishment of road tax on all individually-owned taxis.
A woman taxi driver, K. Ambigawathy, 38, said that she got to buy her own taxi following the initiative, which she described as 'amazing' and making life easier on her now.
Going by the result of a recent survey by Merdeka Centre that some 80 per cent of the Indian respondents were solidly behind the initiatives carried out by the government, it would not be surprising to see that perhaps they would transform it into votes for the BN in the coming general election.
As pointed out by another taxi driver who wanted to be known only as Ramesh, "The opposition may promise us the sun and the moon but it's the present government led by Najib that is really taking care of all Malaysians. No promise is better than a harmonious Malaysia for everybody as we are living it now."