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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Monitor federal funds to ensure they reach Indian needy, Putrajaya told

 

Part of the government allocation for Indians has always remain untouched, says a leader of the community. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Two leaders of the Indian community have complained that an appreciable portion of the millions of ringgit in federal funds meant for the community was not reaching target groups.

Asking to remain anonymous, both told FMT a monitoring system was needed to plug any leakage.

One of them, who is well versed with the system, said part of the allocation for Indians had always remain untouched.

The monitoring system he was calling for, he said, should be put in place under the 12th Malaysia Plan, which runs from this year.

Under the 11th Malaysian Plan, Putrajaya allocated RM100 million a year for the Indian community.

“Some programmes directly benefited the community,” he said, “but the rest of the money was returned to the federal government.”

During Najib Razak’s tenure as prime minister, the community was given RM500 million. The amount was divided into five payments to the Socio-Economic Development of the Indian Community Unit (Sedic).

Sedic was renamed Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (Mitra) under Pakatan Harapan.

“We do not know if the Indian community will be receiving the same amount under the 12th Malaysia Plan, but we need to start discussing how the money will be used,” the leader said.

He disclosed that some of the funds were previously given to NGOs and private companies and suggested that this time the money be given to Mitra and the entrepreneur development institution Tekun.

“Some of the NGOs might have overcharged the government for their services.” he said.

He also said several programmes carried out under Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan had yielded results but had now been suspended.

The other leader said one way of ensuring the effective spending of funds was to have them directly audited by the auditor-general’s office.

He said some of the funds that were returned to the government had been allocated for Tekun, which was given RM20 million a year to aid small Indian businesses.

“We need to look into why the money was not effectively spent and how to improve its delivery,” he added.

He proposed the revival of the Special Implementation Taskforce which existed when Barisan Nasional was in power.

The task force had a branch in every state, with two officers looking into the social problems of Indians, including citizenship issues.

“They managed to solve a lot of social issues, but their work was stopped under Pakatan Harapan,” he said.

Klang MP Charles Santiago told FMT Mitra and Tekun should carry out outreach programmes to encourage more Indians to benefit from government funds rather than continue to duplicate the work of several ministries by organising upskilling programmes.

“There seems to be a lack of policy and priority focus,” he said. “Money is kept and they wait for the right people to come. But it is usually the same people who know the system that turn up.” - FMT

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