The Malaysian government has exhorted the country's Indian community to emulate the ethnic Chinese in grabbing investment and business opportunities.
The Chinese have snapped up the 999 million units reserved for them under an investment fund, the Amanah Saham Malaysia (ASM). Indians, who form eight percent of the country's population, have lagged behind.
The majority Malays, also referred to as bumiputras, for whom 51 percent of the units are reserved under the Malaysian law have not snapped up this investment opportunity. "I hope the bumiputras and Indians will not let this opportunity go," Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said Monday at the closing of the Malaysia Unit Trust Week.
"This clearly shows the level of understanding among the Chinese when it comes to investment and financial planning for the future," Yassin was quoted as saying by The Star newspaper.
An additional two billion units of Amanah Saham Wawasan 2020 were open to the public with 51 percent allocated to the bumiputras and 49 percent to others.
Muhyiddin told reporters that while the government encouraged domestic spending to boost the economy, it wanted the people to save by investing their money in proper financial instruments such as unit trusts. He said the additional income would come in handy for future planning.
In contrast to the Chinese who control a large segment of the Malaysian economy, Indians, a bulk of whom came as farm and railroad workers during the British era, have lagged behind.
Two ethnic Indian ministers in the government of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, R. Sarvanan and S.K. Devamani, Sunday said the Indians were "unaware" of the opportunities available to them.