TUMPAT (Bernama) – Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said yesterday the Barisan Nasional (BN) government wants the Siamese in the country to be an important segment of Malaysian society.
It is for this reason that the government is providing much aid and assistance to the community, he said when addressing a gathering of the Siamese community at Wat Machimmaram (Machimmaram Temple) in Kampung Jubakar.
Muhyiddin, who is also the education minister, presented a RM200,000 contribution to the Siamese temple as aid for the teaching of the Siamese language to children of the community.
He said emphasis should be given to the education of children to enable them to progress in life and eventually contribute to nation-building.
“In fact, if a (national) school wants a Siamese language teacher, we can provide such teachers. I do not see any problem here as that is my responsibility.
“I do not want our children to be deprived of knowledge. Without an education, they cannot progress in life. This will pose a problem for the country,” he said.
About 2,000 people of the Siamese community attended the event. Also present were Muhyiddin’s wife Puan Sri Noorainee Abdul Rahman; Kelantan BN chairman Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed; the BN candidate for the Pengkalan Kubor state by-election, Mat Razi Mat Ail (rpt) Ail; Senator Datuk Boon Som Inong and the chief priest of the temple (Phrak Khru Wikthet Thammanard) Tham Thit.
Muhyiddin said the government would provide assistance to the Siamese community just like the way it did for the other communities.
“The Siamese and their children will be accorded fair treatment, including in matters pertaining to their bumiputera status and aid from Mara. The government must be fair to all, regardless of race,” he said.
It was the responsibility of the government to help all communities to build a progressive society, he said, adding that the BN federal government had never marginalised any community.
Muhyiddin’s visit is part of the BN campaign for the by-election, polling for which is on Sept 25.
The by-election is being held following the death of three-term assemblyman Datuk Noor Zahidi Omar of the BN on Aug 20.
It is a three-cornered contest among Mat Razi, Wan Rosdi Wan Ibrahim of PAS and independent Izat Bukhary Ismail Bukhary. Noor Zahidi had retained the seat with a majority of 1,736 votes in the general election held last year.
Muhyiddin said he hoped that the BN would retain the seat so that the constituents would have a representative to convey their requests to the government.