Don T Forget Veterans Sacrifices
Rear-Admiral (Rtd) Tan Sri K.Thanabalasingam reminds lawmakers, especially the government, not to forget the services and sacrifices of the veterans who had ensured Malaysia enjoyed peace and stability for the past five decades. - NSTP/ADRIAN DAVIDKUALA LUMPUR: The 2021 Budget which was tabled in Parliament recently has sidelined the minorities and offered crumbs to the Armed Forces and police veterans, a retired navy chief claims.
Voicing his concern, Rear-Admiral (Rtd) Tan Sri K.Thanabalasingam reminded lawmakers, especially the government, not to forget the services and sacrifices of the veterans who had ensured Malaysia enjoyed peace and stability for the past five decades.
"I fear if the proposed 2021 Budget, as presented in Parliament in the current session, if not amended, will have grave consequences.
"Furthermore, passing it in Parliament is in grave doubt.
"It is not only the opposition members of parliament who have voiced their dissent to certain parts of the budget but even some ruling Perikatan Nasional (PN) MPs have spoken against it a few times," said Thanabalasingam, the country's first local Royal Malaysian Navy chief who served from 1967 to 1976.
He questioned the urgency of reviving the Special Affairs Department (JASA) with an allocation of over RM85 million.
"It will serve better if this amount is channelled to the veterans.
"It is absurd that a minority ethnic community of a few million is only assigned RM100 million and the second largest ethnic community of over 6.5 million is allotted RM177 million.
"How is it that a small propaganda machinery like JASA under the Prime Minister's Department is granted RM85.5 million?" he asked.
Thanabalasingam warned that if the PN government did not tweak the proposed budget, as many had suggested, it was headed for failure.
"This is Malaysia's biggest budget ever, surprisingly coming during our nation's most trying and difficult times.
"What is the source of funding for the budget? I believe, in approximately two to three years' time our 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) accumulated debt principle amount will be due.
"Again, where will the funds come from?" he queried.
Thanabalasingam added that there would be sizable wastage under this huge budget unless its allocations were closely monitored and controlled.
Otherwise, he cautioned, with the existing virus pandemic, the nation's economic situation would worsen.
"With billions earmarked for government ministries, departments, institutions and other entities, our anti-corruption organisations will have their work cut out for them.
"Despite that, hundreds of millions or much more may go astray. Will there be accountability for all the disbursements from the 2021 Budget?" he asked. - NST
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