KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 12 (Bernama) -- Gerakan has asked the federal
government to take advantage of the higher rubber and palm oil prices
to raise estate workers' wages.
It also proposed a special fund be set up to help children of
rubber and oil palm estate workers and former plantation workers.
In making the call, acting Gerakan presiden Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu
Koon said the move was crucial to help plantation workers, particularly
the younger set in estates, earn higher income to provide a better life
for their families.
"I am making this suggestion following a meeting in my capacity as the
Penang Chief Minister with the Indian community leaders.
"Party leaders also met Indian grassroots' leaders in several
places to find ways and means to improve the community's socio-economic
status," he told reporters after chairing a four-hour central committee
meeting here today.
On the part of Gerakan, Koh said the party had expanded the "Maju
Diri" programme, a special programme started to help the Indian
community in Penang, to other states.
The programme was initiated eight years ago in the form of
sponsoring kindergarten classes, giving financial aid to poor Indian
students and paying Tamil school teachers' salary.
Seven Tamil schools in Penang have benefited from the programme so far.
Koh said Gerakan would also expand the "Lim Keng Yaik Education
Fund", set up by the party adviser, who is also Energy, Water and
Communications Minister, to help the Indian community in his Beruas
The fund, set up three years ago, would be extended to other Gerakan-held state and parliamentary constituencies, he said.