Najib starts scheme to boost salaries of skilled bumiputeras

PUTRAJAYA • Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak yesterday launched a new education scheme that will boost the earnings of bumiputeras with mid-level incomes, affirming his administration's support for the majority ethnic group that will determine the outcome of the country's next elections.

Called the Super High Income Programme, or Ship, the scheme is targeted at skilled bumiputeras - Malays and other indigenous races - to vault their monthly salaries to more than RM20,000 (S$6,400) a month, the New Straits Times reported yesterday.

Datuk Seri Najib said 50 applicants would be chosen in the first phase of Ship. They would undergo upskilling in selected fields.

"Focus will be given to industries that require skilled and professional workers including in financial services, business services, the health sector, maritime and aerospace industries," he said after attending an event.

The courses, to be financed by the government-backed Bank Rakyat, will take between three and five years, and is seen as another outreach by Mr Najib to woo Malay voters ahead of elections that are expected to be called within months.

The scheme will next be expanded to 250 applicants.

Meanwhile, to appease rural Malay voters, Malaysia's anti-corruption agency is investigating the purchase of a Sabah hotel by troubled land development authority Felda, the media reported. The probe added on to investigations into whether former Felda chairman Mohd Isa Samad was involved in Felda overpaying for two property purchases in London and Sarawak.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 19, 2017, with the headline 'Najib starts scheme to boost salaries of skilled bumiputeras'. Print Edition | Subscribe