BUTTERWORTH, July 16 — The government has given an assurance that it will increase the entry of Indian students in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes in an effort to alleviate poverty in the community. 

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said he was informed of this by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as chairman of the National TVET Council, which he added is currently working on the matter.

“I was told by Ahmad Zahid that there have been appeals for Indian students to be given access to TVET. I have not yet received the number for this but the work is in progress,” he said when speaking at a meet-and-greet session with the Penang Indian community at the Seberang Perai Arena Convention Centre near here today. 

Also present were Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow and Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P. Ramasamy.

Anwar said these measures were part of efforts taken by the government to help ease pressure on the people’s lives and eradicate hardcore poverty among all races, including the Indians. 

On the grouses of Chinese and Indian students who failed to gain entry into matriculation colleges despite having excellent results, Anwar said the Education Ministry helmed by its minister Fadhlina Sidek was looking into the matter.

“This country practices meritocracy and another thing is democratisation to access education. Both must go hand in hand. I told Fadhlina, there is no need to make a statement (on this), no necessity to make noise, just get the full report in a week or two and resolve this,” he said. 

Anwar, who has a tight schedule in Penang today, stressed that the government was committed to its stand of respecting the rights of every citizen, despite being faced with ruthless attacks by the Opposition who claim that he (Anwar) was championing the rights of all other races, but not of the Malays. 

“This is a fundamental principle. Out there, there is propaganda to create fear among Malays that they are under threat because Anwar as Prime Minister is now compromising with the non-Malays and surrendering the Malays’ rights and power.

“We will have to work hard to ensure that such racism, racial propaganda and religious bigotry has no place in this country,” he said. 

In this regard, he urged all races to come as one and help the MADANI government rejuvenate the economy, enhance the quality of education, bring in investments and save the country and its people. 

Anwar also expressed his appreciation and gratitude to the Indian community for giving him solid support during trying times, when he was ‘thrown out’ from the political arena some 20 years ago until he returned to take over the leadership of the country.

“And now, I am in the position to bring about changes in our policies. Please take it from me, I will do my best to correct it,” he said.


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