“Honour your promise, expedite forensic audit on Mitra funds,” Sanjeevan tells PM

THE government must expedite conducting a forensic audit on the Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (Mitra) funds and promptly reveal its findings to the public in order to provide clarity on corruption allegations.

According to Bersatu associate wing information chief Datuk R. Sri Sanjeevan, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim must honour the promise made when he was the opposition chief.

Recall that in Sept 2022, Anwar promised that if Pakatan Harapan (PH) returned to power, they would conduct a forensic audit on three Indian-related bodies namely Maika Holdings, Maju Institute of Educational Development (MIED) and Mitra.

Mitra is a special government unit set up to address the socio-economic development of the Indian community, specifically the B40 group.

Speaking to FMT, Sanjeevan said if a forensic audit is not conducted, problems within Mitra, including alleged corruption, will persist indefinitely, and therefore the findings of the forensic audit must be made public.

The news portal reported that until now, Mitra has only undergone an audit by the national audit department under the previous administration.

Sanjeevan proposed that Mitra’s annual fund of RM100 mil should be allocated to specific programmes to ensure tangible and measurable results, further suggesting that funds should be allocated to education this year and then to entrepreneurship the following year, for example.

“If the RM100 million is dispersed across various programmes, the impact may not be evident because it is a small amount. So, it’s better to narrow down the scope of programmes, then the results will be more visible,” he added.

Sanjeevan, who is the former Malaysian Crime Watch Task Force (MyWatch) chairman also suggested that a large portion of Mitra’s funds be directed towards education to uplift the Indian community, primarily those from B40 families.

“If there is a lack of financial support, how can these students pursue the higher education needed to change the future of their families?” he was quoted as saying.

“Without adequate educational opportunities, they may become susceptible to gang activities and the like. As a result, social problems will persist.”

In 2021, Mitra was investigated by the MACC over allegations that funds had been misappropriated from 2019 to 2021, with graft investigators discovering weaknesses in its management.

 

Mitra did not require the recipients to submit detailed expenditure reports for validation and the culprits knew how to exploit this lack of scrutiny to their advantage, the report said.

A total of 337 companies, associations, and non-governmental organisations were identified to have been approved for Mitra grants from 2019 to 2021, with approximately RM203 mil in allocations.

MACC opened 33 investigation papers into the misappropriation of the funds. – Jan 8, 2024

 

Main pic credit: Bernama

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