BN manifesto's impressive initiatives for Indians
Many references to the Indian community in the election manifesto of BN speak volumes of the ruling coalition's commitment to uplift the standard of living of the community.
Among them are:
- Providing RM500 million in seed funding to increase the equity of the Indian community to at least three percent;
- Setting up a special unit to ensure the successful implementation of policies for the uplifting of the Indian community;
- Improving housing in estates and providing houses for former estate workers through government-estate partnership;
- Converting SJKTs that wish to change status, into fully aided schools; and
- Continuing special allocations to all types of schools including SJKTs and others.
In addition, there are many other pledges in the manifesto which will directly help the community increase its stake in the social, education and economic life of the nation. The remaining 133 promises will affect Indian Malaysians indirectly.
(This fact is in sharp contrast to Pakatan's manifesto which has zero mention of the Indian community except for a passing reference to 'Chinese, Tamil, Iban, Kadazan schools'.)
This is the first time such a specific reference is being made to the Indian community.
And it is significant that no other ethnic community is specifically mentioned, although all other racial groups are equal beneficiaries of BN's initiatives that will be rolled out over the next five years.
The BN manifesto, launched by Prime Minister Najib Razak last Saturday is without doubt the most caring manifestation of the ruling party's determination to place the Indian community on par with the rest of the rakyat.
The promises in the manifesto go beyond promises. Some, like BR1M, have already been implemented. Until now, many Indians have been beneficiaries of BR1M and BR1M 2.0.
More is to come. Najib has promised to increase BR1M eventually to RM1,200 for households and RM600 for singles while maintaining it on an annual basis.
"This is real income," said one happy BR1M recipient recently. "It's like money in the bank".
When fully implemented, the BN proposals will cover all the concerns highlighted by Indian NGOs including those included in Hindraf's wish list.
So, for Indians, help is not just a pie-in-the-sky like the Pakatan promises. It is already a BN reality.
It is hoped that the government machinery will be in place to deliver on all the promises made by BN.
There must be regular review mechanisms to ensure smooth implementation of policies and the avoidance of hiccups in the process.