D Singh, a retired public school principal, visited a branch of a local bank to invest in a Government-initiated investment scheme targeted for Malaysians of Indian origins.
To his surprise, the bank staff told him that he did not make the cut for the Amanah Saham 1Malaysia investment scheme, managed by the Malaysian investment giant Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB).
“The bank staff told that the scheme is for Indians only. I was surprised as all my life, I have been registered as an Indian,” the retired principal told Asia Samachar. “The staff herself was an Indian.”
Singh plans to visit again another day the Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) branch in Kuala Lumpur.
It seems he is not the first to get the cold shoulder when attempting to make avail of the investment scheme. It has even prompted a senator from the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) to issue a letter to PNB chairman Abdul Wahid Omar to highlight the matter.
“We have received feedback that Malaysian citizens listed under Punjabi, Singh and Kaur in their Identity Card and Birth Certificates have not been allowed to purchase the investment units as they have not been categorised as Indians. This has raised some unhappiness and confusion as they are of indian origin and have the right to purchase the AS1M,” writes SK Devamany.
The confusion is probably caused by the option taken up when registering race. Some opt for Indians, while others may have ticked Punjabi, thus placing them in the ‘Other’ category.
When presenting Federal Government Budget for 2018, Prime Minister Najib Razak had announced that PNB would allocate of an extra 1.5 billion units under AS1M to enable Malaysian Indians to top up their investment in the unit trust fund, up to 30,000 units per investor.
The scheme is meant to benefit the Indian community, especially those in the so-called B40 category, which refers to the poorer segent of th society.
The scheme was open from today (29 Jan 2018).
Earlier, the government had also introduced interest free loans to allow members of the Indian community to purchase up to 5,000 AS1M shares.
[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com] 17180
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