| Petaling Jaya, Malaysia | 19 March 2016 | Asia Samachar |
Malaysian-based Sikh non-government organisations (NGOs) should make efforts to tap the RM60 million new Federal Government funding made available for the upliftment of the Indian community.
The closing date for fund request submission is 11 April 2016.
“Focus on your core expertise. Don’t try to champion area that is not your expertise. Work on your strengths,” said academician Associate Prof Dr Sarjit Singh Gill.
He was the key speaker at the Community Development Project Funding Workshop 2016 organised by the Coalition of Malaysian Sikh Organisation (CMSO) in Petaling Jaya today (19 March 2016).
The workshop is organised in collaboration with the Special Unit Program for Socioeconomic Development of Indian Community (SEDIC), a unit in the Prime Minister’s Department.
The unit is tasked to distribute the Federal Government funding, which began with a RM100 million last year. In that year, only four Sikh organisation made funding requests, receiving less than RM1 million in total.
“The requirements this year will be more stringent. I urge our Sikh NGOs to be more prepared,” he tells Asia Samachar at the sidelines of the workshop.
At the workshop, Khalsa Diwan Malaysia (KDM) immediate past president Bhag Singh and Sikh Women’s Awareness Network (SWAN) president Satwant Kaur had shared their experience in making the application last year.
Bhag, a retired civil servant, is also the chairman of CMSO. He and CMSO secretary general Autar Singh were present at a recent briefing by SEDIC.
“We heard them, now we are sharing the information with the rest. If you have problems translating the document into Malay, for example, come to me. I can help you there,” said Bhag.
In his introduction remarks, Autar said Sikh NGOs must understand the changes that have taken place in the way the government channels its funding.
“SEDIC is now the big funder. We have to apply to them with projects in hand. You provide the expertise, manpower, people, everything, and they will provide the funding. And they will also monitor,” he said.
For 2016 SEDIC funding, the target groups are single mothers, dropout students (pelajar tercicir), youth at-risk and marginalised group, and those who lack access for self-development.
Dr Sarjit, a social anthropologist at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), said the Sikh community faces issues in capacity building.
“We organise samelans (camps), but lack follow-up. What do we do after the camp? What do we do with the participant data at hand?.
“In capacity building, we need systematic training programs for our youth, single mothers, etc,” he listed out in his presentation.
On the present thinking of community development, he said SEDIC’s approach is now one of bottom-up approach.
“The present administration has taken this approach [bottom-up approach], which is a good approach. The earlier administrations had employed the top-down approach, which saw communities like the Orang Asli marginalised,” he said.
Dr Sarjit has done extensive study on the minorities like Orang Asli (Aborigines). He is also secretary to the National Unity Cluster under the Council of Professors Malaysia, or Majlis Profesor Negara (MPM), under the Prime Minister’s Department.
In the past, money meant for Indian development flowed primarily through the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), the Indian-based political party that is a component of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition at the Federal Government level.
“The government has brought about some changes here,” he said.
Moving forward, Dr Sarjit has urged Sikh NGOs to be enhance engagements.
“The whole process of community development is engagement. We must be able to engage, and also work with other organisations and gurdwaras,” he said.
Among the participants at the workshop were representatives from Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia (SNSM), Malaysian Sikh Union (MSU),Sant Sohan Singh Ji Melaka Memorial Society Malaysia and Subang Sikh Association Selangor (SSAS). Gurdwaras from Muar in Johor and Kajang in Selangor were also present.
2016 Scope of Programs:
1. Preschool Education Empowerment (SEDIC/SCP/PRS/04)
2. Increasing Student Intake into Local University (IPTA), Polytechnic, Industrial Training Institute (ILP) & National Youth Skills Institute (IKBN) (SEDIC/SCP/EDU/08)
3. High-Risk Youth Program (SEDIC/SCP/BEL/09)
4. General (SEDIC/SCP/GEN/11)
5. Entrepreneurship Development & Income Generation Program (SEDIC/SCP/ENT/12)
6. Education Through Tuition Classes (SEDIC/SCP/TCL/13)
SOURCE: SEDIC WEBSITE
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