IT is only so much that anyone can manoeuvre because when caught red-handed, that space shrinks fast!
National Unity Minister Datuk Halimah Mohd Sadique, is feeling the heat for channelling millions into a research arm under the MIC to do online classes for poor Indian school kids during COVID-19.
Yayasan Strategic Sosial received RM9.1 mil from the Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (MITRA), under the purview of the National Unity Ministry.
Let us ask ourselves this question; why would a research centre conduct online educational class?
It does not make sense and more so when a large segment of the poor kids do not have access to laptops or the Internet.
When questioned in Parliament, Halimah is yet to confirm if MIC received the money although its president, Tan Sri SA Vigneswaran, has said he reached out to 18,000 students with the said funds.
Now, why do we use a political party in the first place, when clearly the money should have been streamed through civil society organisations?
And why on earth are Zoom classes amounting to millions of ringgit? On top of this, the foundation has no expertise in education.
Halimah’s answers to legitimate questions raised on how MITRA’s millions were spent is either to challenge us by asking us to lodge a report with the anti-corruption agency or repetitively saying the organisation has been plugging overdue debts.
There are also other allegations against her such as funds not reaching targetted kindergartens, resulting in 6,000 poor Indian kids not attending classes, with a minimum of 550 teachers out of job.
The minister is not new to controversy and has much to explain about the true value of aid baskets given to the poor during the pandemic. The total cost shown was RM12.4 mil.
And of course, there are other claims saying more money has been diverted to the MIC.
Halimah may very well have proper accounts and documents to show the flow of public funds. So, all I am asking is for her to provide the evidence.
At the crux of this debacle is the fact the funds were allocated to eliminate Indian poverty. As such, we cannot and will not back off from our demands.
Enough of the wayang kulit and show us the proof. – Oct 12, 2021.
Charles Santiago is the MP for Klang.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.
Pic credit: Malay Mail