PEKAN – The government will provide special additional assistance to Orang Asli students who have successfully pursue tertiary education in efforts to ease their burden and as an incentive for them to study to a higher level.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said that as the Finance Minister, the one-off aid would be announced during the tabling of the 2018 Budget next month.
“The government strongly encourages Orang Asli children to attain success up to university. From 2010 to 2016, we have a total of 72 Orang Asli students studying abroad while 767 Orang Asli students are currently studying at public universities,” he said.
He was speaking at a gathering and afternoon tea with the Orang Asli community event in Kampung Mencupu, here yesterday which was attended by Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
Also present were JAKOA director general Jamaluddin Kasbi and Senator Datuk Isa Ab Hamid.
Najib said the additional aid was given to ensure the Orang Asli students were not left behind in the education aspect solely due to financial constrains.
For the record, the government had previously provided an assistance of RM3,800 per semester for every Orang Asli student pursuing a diploma programme and RM4,600 per semester for every Orang Asli taking up a degree programme.
In an effort to further uplift the living standard of the Orang Asli community in the country, Najib said the government was also in the process of improving the existing programme to ensure the Orang Asli felt close to the government.
As a caring government, we always ensure that the Orang Asli community are not left behind and neglected in the mainstream of development, in fact we want them to be in the mainstream of development.
Hence whatever development we are doing must have inclusiveness in the sense that all Orang Asli must also be included in all the programmes that we are implementing, he said.
Najib also announced an additional allocation of RM1 million to implement the homestay programme being operated by JAKOA in collaboration with the Tourism Ministry.
He said it was in addition to the allocation of RM2 million provided by the government for Orang Asli entreprenuership programmes.