Kuala Lumpur: Lauding the contribution of ethnic Indians to Malaysia's progress, Prime Minister Najib Razak on Friday vowed to safeguard the language and culture of the minority community.
"Malaysian Indians are the sons and daughters of this soil. The government has always made it its responsibility to ensure the well-being of all its citizens," Najib said at the 9th International Conference-Seminar on Tamil Studies at Universiti Malaya here.
Najib said the Indian community in Malaysia had contributed significantly to the progress of the country and had progressed in tandem with the progress of the nation.
"We have continued to encourage the use of the mother tongue, especially in the education system, and give all the necessary assistance to the various ethnic groups in ensuring that their languages are practised and preserved," he said.
Najib said that he was proud that the Tamil community in Malaysia has successfully safeguarded its language and culture, state owned Bernama news agency said.
He said the socio-economic status of the ethnic Indian community had also changed significantly over the years, especially after Malaysia gained independence.
"For example, Malaysian Indians make up 11.1 per cent of the professionals in the country. Many in the legal and medical professions are from the Indian community," he added.
Ethnic Indians form eight per cent of Malaysia's 28 million population. A majority of them are Hindus from Tamil Nadu.
The premier said that his government has approved the establishment of six new Tamil primary schools in the country.