This morning I extended a warm welcome to all the Malaysian and foreign participants as well as paper presenters of the 9th International Conference-Seminar on Tamil Studies at the Dewan Tunku Canselor in Universiti Malaya. The Tamil language is one of the longest surviving classical languages in the world and the Malaysian Government has always promoted multicultural and multilingual policy in Malaysia.
We have continued to encourage the use of mother tongue especially in our education system and gave all the necessary assistance to the various ethnic groups in ensuring that the language and culture are practised and preserved. I am proud to say that the Tamil community in Malaysia has successfully safeguarded their language and culture. Malaysian students have the opportunity to learn Tamil right from the pre-school to tertiary levels. Currently, there are 523 Tamil Primary schools which are part of the Malaysian education system. Apart from this, the Government has also approved six new Tamil primary schools. With this being said, next year, 2016 will mark 200 years of Tamil schools in Malaysia. Our national secondary schools provide Tamil language and literature education. Not only that, our undergraduate and post-graduate students have the opportunity to pursue the Tamil language in public universities such as Universiti Malaya and the Sultan Idris University of Education in Tanjung Malim, Perak.
The Government under the 1Malaysia concept is committed to ensure that the Malaysian Indian community continues to succeed and witness positive growth in all sectors. Malaysian Indians are the sons and daughters of this soil and the Government has always made it its responsibility to ensure the well-being of all its citizens. I wished all the participants a fruitful time of discussions and deliberations at the conference to chart new strategies to further improve research and development of the Tamil language.