Letter To Editor
THE RM100 mil allocation under Budget 2024 can be considered a pittance to the larger needs of the Indian community. It is just a drop in the ocean.
Surely, the amount is insufficient to address the socio-economic woes of the Indians, a community that has contributed so much to the development of this country but has got so little over the years.
The Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (MITRA) has been placed back under the National Unity Ministry from the Prime Minister’s Department in December 2023.
For the record, the Socio-economic Development of the Indian Community Unit (SEDIC) was renamed MITRA and was initially put under the National Unity Ministry in 2018 but was transferred to the oversight of the Prime Minister’s Department in September 2022.
A brainchild of the then premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak, SEDIC was initially placed under the Prime Minister’s Department upon its formation in May 2014 to ensure that funds provided by the government to the Indian community are governed efficiently and reach the target groups.
However, Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has assured that he would continue to monitor the special unit responsible for addressing the socio-economic development issues of the Indian community in the country.
The PM’s intention to help the Indian community is welcomed but the issues here are transparency and accountability. The expenditures should be brought to Parliament for MPs to scrutinise so that the money would not be subjected to abuse and misappropriation.
The National Unity Minister should also report directly to the PM and Dewan Rakyat to prevent the mismanagement or loss of funds.
The funds must not go to any political outfit but go directly to the target group. In other words, the allocation must be used through various strategic initiatives that prioritise low and middle-income groups through entrepreneurship, skills, career development, human capital and social welfare.
Meanwhile, the National Entrepreneurial Group Economic Fund (TEKUN Nasional) received an allocation of RM330 mil under the Budget 2024.
Out of this amount, RM30 mil was allocated for financing facilities under the Indian Community Entrepreneur Financing Scheme (SPUMI) specifically for Indian community entrepreneurs to be competitive and enhance their business capacity.
Similarly, disbursement for micro-financing for Indians under TEKUN Nasional for the year 2023 must be displayed transparently to restore the people’s confidence. – Jan 15, 2024
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.