KUALA LUMPUR - The 70 interns set to work under the various ministries under the Perdana Fellows Programme will help bridge the gap between the Government and young Malaysians, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
"We hope that these 70 youths will be the unofficial spokespersons of the Government to reach out to other youths via social media and so on," said the Prime Minister.
"There is still a gap between the Government and Malaysian youths and we are not connected to them. Hopefully, with this programme, we can become closer," he said after launching the programme at the Parliament building here yesterday.
Najib said this was a chance for the Government to polish young talents and for the youths to learn about the Government's plans, as well as the challenges faced in handling national affairs.
The chosen ones will begin their stint as aides to Federal Government ministers, including the Prime Minister, today.
The interns were selected under the inaugural programme, which was Najib's brainchild.
Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the Government received over 600 applications consisting of students from the foreign universities like the University of Oxford and University of Cambridge as well as local institutions like Universiti Malaya and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.
Separately, Najib said 11 Malay-sian companies were given special approvals from China to continue exporting bird's nests to the republic as long as they follow several conditions.
"This constitutes 5 per cent of the sector. We are still negotiating for the remaining 95 per cent of the sector, which is involved in producing unclean bird's nests.
"This matter is expected to be solved soon," he said after meeting Chinese delegates at the Parliament building.
Najib said the special approval was obtained thanks to the hard work of former MCA president Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting.
He said the Chinese government had set up a hub to process and conduct laboratory tests for the bird's nests imported by them from Malaysia.