empower ECER TRANSFORMS LIVES OF 2,855 INDIAN PARTICIPANTSInclusive approach in human capital development programme benefits over 1,500 adults and 1,300 students from the Indian community in the East Coast

BENTONG, APRIL 18, 2015:  The East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) has successfully transformed the lives of 2,855 Indians in the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) with its human capital development programme, empower ECER since its launch in 2010 to date. They consist of 1,551 adults and 1,304 students from low income households living in rural areas, comprising 2,815 participants from Pahang, 19 from Terengganu and 21 from Mersing.
In a statement issued in conjunction with a media briefing conducted here today, ECERDC Chief Executive Officer YBhg. Datuk Seri Jebasingam Issace John said, empower ECER is an inclusive programme whose goal is to ensure that all communities in ECER are able to benefit from the new prosperity created by the Government Transformation Plan.
“Our approach is holistic, as we do not want anyone to be left behind in ECER’s ongoing socio-economic transformation,” said Datuk Seri Issace.
“We emphasise on training as well as confidence-building and motivation to create a level playing field for empower ECER participants, including those from the Indian community. Even after the participants have completed their training programme, we continue to offer them guidance, especially to those venturing into their own businesses,” he added.
ECERDC today also organised a special seminar under The Secretariat for Empowerment of Indian Entrepreneurs (SEED) initiative to help start-ups owned by Indian entrepreneurs leverage on the facilities offered under the SEED programme, which range from micro-credit financing to credit risk management.
During the seminar held at the empower ECER training centre in Bentong, budding entrepreneurs are introduced to the various financial assistance schemes and mechanisms being made available by the government to Indian entrepreneurs. They were also given proven tips on managing day-to-day operations, as well as how to enhance business proficiency, skill sets and profitability.
SEED is a unit that is established under the Indian Community Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department, which aims to provide access for every Malaysian Indian to play a role in transforming the economic landscape of the Malaysian Indian community. SEED is aimed at empowering the community and to ensure that Malaysian Indians will be part of the national economic development agenda.
Today’s seminar was attended by 20 empower ECER Indian participants from Pahang, comprising five participants each from Bentong, Lipis, Temerloh and Raub. Out of the total number, 19 of them are women who have ventured into the food, beauty and tailoring business. From full-time housewives prior to joining empower ECER, they are now earning an average of RM1,500 a month.
empower ECER has also witnessed significant improvements in the performance of academically weak Indian students. “To ensure sustainable development, empower ECER is developing the potential of rural students to ensure that the region has a talent pool to meet future needs. In 2014, 148 Indian students have been recognised as “Juara empower ECER” for scoring a minimum of three distinctions in national examinations comprising UPSR, PT3 and SPM,” added Datuk Seri Issace.
empower ECER is a twin-pronged human capital development initiative launched by ECERDC in 2010 to help reduce economic disparities between rural and urban areas. It consists of the Skills and Entrepreneurship Training Programme for adults and Academic Training Programme for examination-year students.
The former focuses on vocational training for single mothers, jobless youths and disadvantaged individuals, while the Academic Training Programme 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 programmes to a variety of learning experiences.
To date, a total of 45,134 participants, comprising 11,695 adults and 33,439 students have benefitted from empower ECER that is conducted in 20 ECER locations, namely, Jeli, Bachok and Ketereh in Kelantan; Kemaman, Dungun, Hulu Terengganu, Besut and Kertih in Terengganu; Bentong, Temerloh, Raub, Lipis, Cameron Highlands, Jerantut, Maran, Rompin, Kuala Pahang, Kuantan and Bera in Pahang; and Mersing in 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 income of between RM500 and RM1,500 per month, or even more. Meanwhile, UPSR, PMR and SPM students enrolled in empower ECER’s Academic Training Programme have recorded a 100% pass rate, with several scoring outstanding results.