Allow me to refer to the letter Give Indians priority at skills institute.
Way back in 1988, there was many objections from certain sections of the Indian Malaysian community over the South Indian Labour Fund being dissolved. This fund was established during the colonial days from contributions of plantation owners towards the welfare of their South Indian workers.
No new funds were collected from 1941 and the fund remained stagnant at RM2.5 million. It was then mooted that the fund be dissolved and the money used to help set-up an industrial skills training centre on a piece of land donated by the late philanthropist Arumugam Pillai.
The 14-acre piece of land in Nibong Tebal was the site for an old folks home for plantation workers. Subsequently, the 16 elderly workers residing at the home in Nibong Tebal and another 43 receiving grants from the South Indian Labour Fund were transferred to the custody of the then Social Welfare Department.
The matter was also discussed in Parliament on July 28, 1999 and the ministry of human resources gave an assurance that the concerns of plantation workers will be taken into account when the government redeveloped the land into an industrial training centre.
The then minister, Lim Ah Lek, together with the senior officials of his ministry met MIC President S Samy Vellu on Aug 10, 1999 and further indicated government's intention of establishing a skills training centre.
On Nov 24 that year Lim, together with Samy Vellu who is minister of works, laid the foundation stone for the institute at the land at Nibong Tebal.
The Malaysian government - under the 8th Malaysia Plan - allocated RM60 million for the project and by the end of last year the NTS Arumugam Pillai industrial skills training institute at Nibong Tebal was completed with a residential capacity for 600 full-time students.
The first batch of 61 students started their course in January this year on
On the one hand, this is indeed a success story as this is the first government institute bearing the name of an Indian personality. However, the sad side of this story is that there are currently no Indian students at the institute.
This matter must be viewed with great concern. The government has built an institution and it is open to Indian students but there are no such students forthcoming. What surprises me more is that the courses at the NTS Arumugam Pillai Institute are fully subsidised.
No fees with food and accommodation provided free. What's more, students also receive an allowance of RM100.
Are there no takers because the Indian community does not yet know of this institute? No takers because we do not have students with the required three passes in SPM? Or do they have other options?
There is an urgent need now for us as a community to highlight this opportunity and ensure our fair share of the resources made available. There must be a concerted effort in identifying potential students and encouraging them to apply to this institute.
In an effort to create public awareness, I hereby attach the address and contact number of the institute for members of th public who wish to seek further information. The Yayasan Strategik Social, the MIC's social arm, will also be organising a field visit to the institute on March 15.
The institute's next intake is in July and there are 75 places are available for those wanting to study Information Technology (Systems and Networks).
For details contact:
Ir Halim Azhar
Institute Latihan Perindustrian Arumugam Pillai,
Jabatan Tenaga Manusia,
Kementerian Sumber Manusia,
Jalan Bukit Panchor,
14300 Nibong Tebal,
Seberang Perai Selatan, Pulau Pinang
Telephone number 04-5956000 or fax number: 04-5956006.