ECERDC honors 16 top performing Orang Asli students and 10 entrepreneurs

CAMERON HIGHLANDS, 7 MARCH 2014:The East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) today celebrated the achievements of top performing Orang Asli participants of empower ECER Cameron Highlands. The participants, consisting of 16 students and 10 entrepreneurs, received certificates of recognition from the Guest of Honour, Y.B Datuk Seri G. Palanivel, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment and Member of Parliament for Cameron Highlands. The entrepreneurs, all running their own business since completing their empower ECER courses, also received appliances to boost their respective ventures.

In his address at the event entitled “Program Generasi Inspirasi – Majlis Anugerah Cemerlang,” Datuk Seri Palanivel said, “empower ECER is a unique training program that focuses on content as well as confidence building among the poor. It teaches student participants invaluable learning skills to excel in their examinations while adult participants acquire the skills sets and confidence to venture out on their own as entrepreneurs. “And we have living proof of participants who have excelled under this program with us this morning. They are the stars of today’s event – inspirational, motivational and a beacon of hope not only for the Orang Asli community but also all Malaysians.”

empower ECER is a twin-pronged human capital development initiative launched by ECERDC in 2010 to help reduce economic disparities between rural and urban communities. It consists of the Skills and Entrepreneurship Program for adults and an Academic Training program for UPSR, PMR and SPM examination-year students. The former focuses on vocational training for single mothers, jobless youths and disadvantaged individuals. The Academic Program addresses the needs of academically disadvantaged students from low income homes. To create a more level playing field, empower ECER focuses on exposing participants of both programs to a variety of learning experiences.

ECERDC Chief Executive Officer Dato’ Jebasingam Issace John said, “empower ECER is our biggest human capital development success story. It is an inclusive program that reaches out to different communities in 17 locations in rural ECER. Since its launch in 2010, the program has benefitted 22,216 participants, comprising 8,725 adults and 13,491 students. Of this number, 792 are Orang Asli participants, the majority of whom are from the district of Cameron Highlands.”

empower ECER is conducted in nine locations in Pahang, namely Bentong, Temerloh, Raub, Lipis, Cameron Highlands, Jerantut, Maran, Rompin and Kuala Pahang; three locations in Kelantan, namely, Jeli, Bachok and Ketereh; four locations in Terengganu, namely, Kemaman, Dungun, Hulu Terengganu and Besut; and in the ECER district of Mersing, Johor.

It is estimated that 80% of adult participants will gain employment after completing their courses or have sufficient knowledge and practical experience to start their own business, and the ability to generate additional income of between RM500 and RM1,500 per month, or even more. Meanwhile, UPSR, PMR and SPM students attending empower ECER’s remedial classes have recorded a 100% pass rate, with several scoring outstanding results.