Below is a press statement I issued to Bernama today.
KUALA LUMPUR, June 29 -- The government must set-up a monitoring committee to check on the progress of the proposed unit trust scheme, aimed at increasing corporate equity ownership among ethnic Indians from the present 1.1 per cent to 1.5 per cent by 2010.
In making this call, MIC information chief Datuk M. Saravanan also wanted the government to ensure fair Indian participation in the monitoring committee, comprising professionals, especially bankers and stock market experts, representatives of non-governmental organisations and political parties.
"The committee should ensure the smooth and fair implementation of the scheme. The scheme must receive equal distribution in the community and nobody should complain of being left out."
On Thursday, tabling the mid-term review of the Ninth Malaysia Plan, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced that to increase corporate equity ownership among ethnic Indians to 1.5 % by 2010, efforts would be continued to increase access to skills training and entrepreneurship development programmes.
In addition, special assistance will be given to the ethnic Indian community to raise the level of their equity ownership through unit trust schemes, Abdullah had revealed.
Saravanan, who is also Federal Territories deputy minister, also said the unit trust scheme should not be distributed by any single body as this would result in "all sorts allegations" and would be open to abuse.
"The government must ensure that Indians gain from the scheme. It should transparent coming out with regular periodical progress reports to ensure that the people know where their investments are and how it is doing in terms of financial gains.
"There is also a need to ensure that this scheme reaches its target group. There is no point in a few people holding most of the unit trusts. It must be evenly distributed so that the target group benefits. It must also have a safeguard so that only Indians are entitled to the scheme and that units do not pass on from Indians to another race," he added.
On another note, the deputy minister also hoped that the government would provide a one-off grant to all Tamil schools in the country to remedy whatever shortfalls they had.
"This could be as a one off grant. We can solve woes of Tamil schools once and for all. Never again should Tamil schools organise fund raising campaigns to improve the infrastructure of schools. This has become a habit and is becoming a norm.
"Students of these schools are also Malaysian and therefore they should gain from the government's support. We hope this grant can be made available at the tabling of the 2009 Budget," he added. -- BERNAMA
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