Unanswered Questions Over Rm100 Mil Funds For Indian Community


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P Waytha Moorthy’s answers in Parliament raise more questions about the disbursement of funds for the Indian community
After the Pakatan Harapan government took over power, the Indian community was given a financial grant of RM100 million to utilise for its socio-economic development in the 2019 budget
The money was parked under the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department. Subsequently, the Malaysian Indian Transformation Agency (Mitra) was established to replace the Socio-Economic Development of the Indian Community (Sedic) that operated during the Barisan Nasional period
On July 23, there was a question asked by Senator T Mohan to the prime minister as to amount of funds that was disbursed and the recipients under both Sedic and Mitra
Since there were serious problems in the way the funds were distributed to recipients under Sedic during the BN or MIC period, there could be MACC reports in the coming days or weeks
I am interested to find out how the RM100 million was disbursed under the leadership of Waytha Moorthy, who the recipients were and whether the disbursements can advance the socio-economic development of the Indian community
From the answers provided in Parliament, we can summarise the following: that to date, only RM31.5 million was disbursed under two phases
In the first phase, 40 programmes benefited, and in the second phase 60 programmes
The use of the term “programme” is somewhat a misnomer as the funds were actually distributed to private enterprises and non-governmental organisations. Thus, in this sense, it is wrong for Mitra or Waytha Moorthy to use the term “programme” as money was given not to initiatives begun by Mitra but outside agencies
This must be corrected as it is misleading
In terms of the financial breakdown, more than RM15 million went to education and training, more than RM4 million was given to NGOs that focused on cultural and ethnic identity, about RM6.8 million was given for welfare and social development, and pre-school education was allocated RM2.1 million
Apart from the information that we gather from the parliamentary questions and answers, there is no information forthcoming on the balance of the budget that was allocated to the Prime Minister’s Department
If RM31.5 million was disbursed, the public wants to know why Mitra is silent on the remaining RM68.5 million
Basically, the funds were disbursed to NGOs, private enterprises and companies and others
Going through the list raises many questions about the transparency and accountability of the whole exercise
To give a few examples, one wonders how certain private enterprises such as travel agencies, bridal enterprises, and privately owned universities and colleges actually contribute to the socio-economic development of the Indian universities
Why are private enterprises meant for the immediate interests of their shareholders be given taxpayers’ allocation
Can the public have answers from Mitra or Waytha Moorthy
Why should private colleges with their own funding be given funds meant for poor Indians who can’t even make it to universities
Why are private religious organisations given funding when they hardly have any role in the social and economic development
There are so many NGOs who have such a small constituency given funds? For instance, why should Persatuan Sikhs and Kaurs be given an allocation? Is Mitra willing to prove that they have a significant role in the progress of Indians? How can such organisations be given funds when there are serious doubts about their roles
Another blatant example is Kelab Peminat Shivaji Rao. I wonder how this fan club can contribute to the socio-economic progress of the Indian community
Are funds allocated to cronies and friends of those in Mitra? Is Mitra any different from Sedic that it replaced? Can Waytha Moorthy answer my queries rather than ask me to make a phone call to him to clear matters
A few millions have been allocated to enterprises and organisations that have dubious or questionable roles in the progress of the Indian community, particularly the poor and the marginalised
In the coming days, Waytha Moorthy has much explaining to do about the way and the manner in which the funds were distributed and why some organisations with dubious community roles became the recipients
P Ramasamy is the Penang deputy chief minister II.

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