7/2/2012 — New Straits Times
CAMERON HIGHLANDS: MORE than 900 locals, including Orang Asli, are involved in the East Coast Economic Region’s Empower human capital development programme here.
Since the programme was started two years ago, it had helped more than 10,500 villagers from eight districts in Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan.
The two-pronged programme offers tuition classes for weak students while adults were taught skills such as cooking, office management, basic wiring and piping.
Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob, who launched the Empower programme for Cameron Highlands at SMK Sultan Ahmad Shah here yesterday, said most of the 2,100 adult participants were now employed.
“They had either started their own businesses or secured jobs, most of them earning up to RM6,000 monthly, while the children have shown better academic performance.”
Adnan said the programme was part of a systematic boost to the state’s overall human capital development, in line with the prime minister’s transformation initiatives.
Meanwhile, ECER Development Corporation chief executive officer Datuk Jebasingam Issace John said more than 6,000 participants in the programme were students.
“In Cameron Highlands alone, about 400 students and 500 adults have joined the programme.”
SK Kuala Terla student affair senior assistant R. Kaberi Naidu said the programme’s spelling activities helped spur the children to study.
The view was endorsed by SK Kuala Koyan headmaster, Aziz Bakar, whose 170 Orang Asli pupils took part in the two-hour motivational sessions held twice a month.
He said it helped boost their confidence and interaction skills.
Orang Asli parent, Noriah Atim, 42, said her daughter Niana Munan enjoyed the programme because of its friendly and fun approach.
Also present during the launch were Cameron Highlands MP Datuk S.K. Devamany, state assemblymen Datuk Ho Yip Kap (Tanah Rata) and Datuk Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail (Jelai).