According to a PKR leader, there is no point in the government forking out RM50 million for those living in rural areas when the majority of Indians are in urban areas.
In the 2011 Budget, Najib announced the RM50 million loan scheme – with a 4% interest rate and 40-year repayment period – to upgrade the living standard of plantation workers.
However, the scheme was shrouded in mystery when Bank Simpanan Nasional which was appointed to handle the scheme stated that the money had yet to be transferred despite the Finance Ministry having approved the amount.
Malacca PKR vice-president G Rajendran said Najib should channel the money for the betterment of urban Indians.
“Currently, only less than 15% Indians stay in estates while the rest have already moved to urban areas. So what is the point in spending RM50 million for rural Indians?” he asked.
He noted that urban Indians were struggling to make ends meet due to low wages and lack of employment opportunities.
“By allocating the RM50 million for them, it will help upgrade their standard of living,” he said.
Under the scheme, Rajendran said, the government should encourage the urban Indians to venture into small businesses, allocate a certain amount for their children’s education and to provide them with enough money to fork out the initial payment for a house.
He added that such a move would also encourage more Indians from rural areas to move to urban areas.