Mitra programmes alone will not transform the Indian community

Pallavi Kumar

Modified 15 Jul 2019, 2:25 am

LETTER | It was so devastating to watch a recent exclusive live interview of Minister in the Prime Minister's Department P Waythamoorthy in RTM2's 'Vasantham'.

Let me get to the point.

Firstly, the interview portrayed the Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (Mitra) as the singular vehicle to uplift the "bereaved" Indian community in Malaysia.

Perhaps, the limitation in ministerial jurisdiction might have prompted Waythamoorthy to use Mitra as his platform to shepherd Indian issues in the country. That's a typical political move that we are so sick of.

Mitra's RM100 million allocation is being divided among organisations to carry out activities and programmes under its five main pillars. 

Are we fooling ourselves? How can mere programmes and activities transform a community, when what it needs is a catalyst and special intervention policies?

Looking at education, Mitra has provided funds to some private TVET institutions. Apparently, RM17,600 has been allocated for one student to pursue a certificate program in a mechatronics course. 

The exact similar course is actually free of charge in IKBNs and IKTBNs. Polytechnics have been offering this course for almost a decade, and we are here telling the Indian community that Mitra is on par with the development and market needs.

The reliability of the courses and institutions are at stake, and yet Waythamoorthy backed his acts by stating that they working on "high-quality programmes for a high-quality community" with the intended outcome unknown.

I am curious as to what would be the course of action by Mitra to these students after their certificate programme? 

These students won't be able to enrol in public institutions, particularly government-subsidised courses. 

So, what future will these students have after their certificate courses? By no means can they enter the high-earner category by just completing a certificate.

So if at all they are asked to pursue a diploma, for instance, will Mitra be able to provide at least RM30,000 to realise their next step?

Secondly, a few courses are letting in students from the age of 16, which indicates that the institution does not provide a support mechanism for a group of students to sit for their SPM examination. 

They leave the school system and join the colleges, but we failed to perceive that technical courses are not only about attaining educational or training-based certification, but involve professional bodies to get further licences. 

SPM is required for a student to climb the ladder of professional certification. Students still require SPM to have a better chance in career progress particularly in technical based jobs.

Waythamoorthy also mentions that only a handful of Indian students are studying in public TVET institutions, and that has caused discomfort in terms of cultural environment. That's wrong. 

The number of Indian students has been seeing a growth in those institutions every year. What cultural discomfort are you talking about? This is Malaysia and those students can't work with Indians solely in the job market.

Teach them to survive. We are vigorously moving towards a borderless society.

The community and Mitra must be precise that technical skills are not meant for back-bench students. 

There are highly critical courses, which need a strong fundamentals in mathematics. 

Sad to relate that the margin of Indian students' failing rate in that subject is high and Mitra funded colleges are still receiving those students and providing certificate courses. 

Why does this happen, when it is evident that this group of students would not be able to obtain certain professional licenses and certificates by regulated bodies in each industry.

Mitra and Waytha should stop misleading the community in terms of education, and work on ways to place students in public TVET institutions. 

The empty seats which have been allocated specially for Indian students belong to the community. Peoples' money is not to be directed to private institutions to run their business.

Finally, a talk show to educate the community should be conducted even more critically and more statistics should be analysed before conducting the interview. 

RTM is getting better but please be even better by doing some extensive researches on the subject matter. 

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.