PUTRAJAYA, April 22 (Bernama) — Efforts to improve the level of education among Orang Asli students remain a top agenda of the government, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today.
He said these efforts should be intensified with the cooperation of various parties through the provision of more education infrastructure and the inculcation of awareness through campaigns on the importance of education.
“This awareness and change should begin at home, that is among the Orang Asli parents,” he said when opening the National Orang Asli Convention 2019 at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre here.
Dr Mahathir said there are now 1,090 Orang Asli studying in various courses at public institutions of higher learning (IPTAs), apart from those who are pursuing their studies overseas at the degree, master’s and doctorate levels.
“These figures signal to the government that the Orang Asli community is aware of the importance of education,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said the high achievements of Orang Asli students also show that the community is prepared and has leaders and intellectuals who can step forward to play a bigger and more significant role in setting the direction for the community and the country.
“Their highly encouraging achievements are surely the result of their own determination and hard work. But it also encourages the government that the policies introduced have helped to produce these excellent students,” he said.
To achieve the target of providing formal education to every Orang Asli, he said, the government would continue to help Orang Asli students through the Education Promotion Aid Scheme implemented by the Orang Asli Development Department (JAKOA).
In the aspect of infrastructure development for Orang Asli settlements, the government always gives attention to projects involving the supply of electricity and treated water, road construction and housing development, he said.
He said that based on the latest statistics, the government had provided village roads to 84 per cent of the 853 registered Orang Asli settlements throughout Peninsular Malaysia, 80 per cent with electricity supply, 79 per cent with water supply and 82 per cent with Hardcore Poor Housing Project (PPRT).
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