Dr M: Contribution of Indian Muslims acknowledged, need time to address issues

Dr M: Contribution of Indian Muslims acknowledged, need time to address issues

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has given an assurance that he would be addressing the issues affecting the Indian Muslim business community promptly.

“I understand the issues faced by the community but I need time to address them. 

“They should look into modernising their businesses according to current trends,” he said, during a meeting with representatives from the Malaysian Indian Muslim Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MIMCOIN) yesterday.

MIMCOIN was represented by 20 delegates in the meeting held at the Prime Minister’s Office.

Mahathir also acknowledged the contributions made by the Indian Muslim community in this country.

“The issues we discussed are business related. Mahathir expects progressive changes in the way Indian Muslim businesses are run and keep up with current trend, ” said MIMCOIN president Datuk Jamarulkhan MS Kadir.

Among the issues raised were the community’s lack of access to government grants and funds. Other issues include foreign workers freeze, the closure of 500 businesses since the 14th general election due to labour shortage, bad policies and others.

MIMCOIN also informed Mahathir about Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) move to merely restricting businesses owned by foreigners to 23 types, instead of putting a stop to it totally.

In addition, the business community also requested the government to simplify the process of bringing in foreign workers to assist in their businesses.

Currently, there are about seven million foreign workers (legal and illegal) in the country but not all of them work in restaurants, mini markets or other service industry related businesses.

Majority of them work in the plantation and construction sectors. Those working in restaurants and mini markets number about 100,000.

Statistically, there are about 800,000 Indian Muslims in Malaysia, making up about 30% of Indians in Malaysia.

Of the 800,000, up to 60% of them are in the business and entrepreneurial sectors while another 10% are professionals.