MITRA funds abused? Get cracking on the claims, NGO tells MACC

FOLLOWING allegations levelled on how Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (MITRA) had been misappropriated, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) criticised the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for dragging its feet on it.

“Don’t wait for a report to be lodged. MACC should just go and investigate it as the matter is all over the news and social media,” Malaysian Indian Voice (MIV) chairman V Pappa Raidu told FocusM.

Earlier this week, Free Malaysia Today reported that former National Unity Minister P Waythamoorty challenged his successor, Datuk Halimah Sadique to join him in lodging reports with the MACC on claims that the former had mismanaged MITRA funds.

Explaining the matter, Waythamoorthy said that as the establishment was riddled with financial issues prior to him becoming the minister, he had formed a new and transparent committee after consulting the Auditor-General’s office, the Finance Ministry, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Chief Secretary to the Government.

This led to a four-tiered evaluation system consisting of various committees, with every grant recipient getting mandatory briefing from the MACC and sign a declaration form.

“The final say in approving those funds lies with the controlling officer, which in this case, was the deputy secretary-general of the PMO,” Waythamoorthy was reported saying.

To date, Halimah had yet to lodge a report to the MACC on her claims made at the Parliament.

Millions went to waste

On that note, Pappa Raidu said that MITRA’s predecessor, Socioeconomic Development of the Indian Community Unit (SEDIC) received massive allocations since the premiership of Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, totalling RM100 mil a year.

“With that kind of money, the Government could have set up various programmes like the Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA) or FELCRA, albeit in a smaller scale, to help uplift the socio-economic conditions of the Indian poor.

“Unfortunately, it did not happen and much of the funds ended being used for pointless programmes before Pakatan Harapan took over and cleaned up the mess,” he stated.

With that, he urged the Government to set-up strong check and balance mechanism under MITRA, to ensure the funds are no longer mishandled in the future.

“Stop distributing funds to dubious groups without proper scrutiny from now on. We are talking about funds to help alleviate poverty here.

“Let’s not repeat the same mistakes again,” Pappa Raidu quipped. – Oct 14, 2021

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