RM8 bil for Bumiputera institutions can help reduce income inequality — UiTM VC

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SHAH ALAM (Oct 11): The Government’s initiative to increase the Budget allocation for Bumiputera economic development is in line with Malaysia’s Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 that focuses on increasing the people’s purchasing power as well as reduce income inequality and regional disparity.

Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Vice-Chancellor, Prof Emeritus Mohd Azraai Kassim said as household income among the Bumiputera community is still the lowest compared to other ethnic groups, the increase in the amount of allocation can uplift the ethnic majority’s economic participation.

"The Economic Outlook 2020 has reported that Bumiputera graduates experience difficulties in securing suitable jobs due to several factors, including poor interpersonal skills and lack of English proficiency.

"Furthermore there is a mismatch between the skills required by industries and qualification attained by Bumiputera graduates. At the same time, Bumiputera participation in skilled and professional occupations at the decision-making and managerial levels remains low," he said in his statement here today.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng when tabling the Budget 2020 today said the government has increased the allocation to assist the Bumiputera institutions and entrepreneurs from RM7.6 billion in Budget 2019 to RM8 billion in Budget 2020.

Mohd Azraai said given the current scenario facing the Bumiputera community, the government has taken taking the right move by allocating a large fund to key Bumiputera educational institutions such as Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA), UiTM and the Peneraju Foundation.

"The increase in allocation for UiTM can boost programs relating to science and technology education in embracing the Industrial Revolution 4.0 and 5.0.

"This in turn will ensure development of human capital through program offerings that are tailored to industry needs, more resources for UiTM means more collaborations between the Small and Medium Industries (SMIs) and the university in terms of doing joint research on technology, and innovation of products. The move could help to improve technology adoption among SMIs," he said.

Mohd Azraai said the additional funds to assist Bumiputera SMIs and entrepreneurs can spur more business projects that ensure their business remains sustainable amidst global economic uncertainties.

"The opportunity given to contractors to obtain at least 30 percent of ministerial tenders provides them with the encouragement to prove their worth and improve their competitiveness to obtain that portion of the pie.

"All these will lead to a multiplier effect in the economy. Not only would Bumiputera businesses remain sustainable, more investment spending will be generated and more employment is created from the increase in business activities leading to more consumption spending and increase in GDP from both components.

"In short, the increase in allocation of funds to empower the economy of the Bumiputera from RM7.6 billion in 2019 to RM8 billion in 2020 is laudable," he said.