Ramasamy: “RM100 mil budget for Mitra is peanuts”

A FORMER DAP leader has questioned the allocation of RM100 mil to the Malaysia Indian Community Transformation Unit (Mitra) to help hardcore poor Indian households.

“When billions are allocated for other communities, why should be Mitra be contented to receive pittance in addressing the social and economic woes of the Indian community?” asked Prof P. Ramasamy.

“This goes show the importance that the Madani government is giving to the welfare and wellbeing of the Indian community.”

The former Penang deputy chief minister II was responding to the recent announcement by Mitra special committee chairman Datuk Ramanan Ramakrishnan that Mitra has fully utilised its RM100 mil allocation earmarked for various initiatives in 2023.

Ramanan said the funds were channelled into initiatives like undergraduate study subsidies, early education programmes and dialysis assistance, alongside technical initiatives such as the Mitra drone operations, and a programme to distribute refurbished laptops to Tamil schools.

He also said this is also the first time in seven years that Mitra successfully utilised all RM100mil allocated.

“Ramanan should be credited for this feat although spending the money allocated is not something extraordinary but a normality,” commented Ramasamy.

“Relatively speaking, compared to the earlier years, Mitra seems to be taking the right and appropriate strides in addressing the question of need amongst the poor Indians, and it is hoped that Mitra will strive to be a transparent and responsible organisation in years to come.”

The former Perai assemblyman noted that Ramanan should, however, go beyond the announcement of Mitra’s successful allocation.

“There is a need to announce, perhaps later, as to who the beneficiaries of the funds are. Hopefully the funds allocated for the Indian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are not channelled for any other purposes other than assisting the poor,” he remarked.

“Ideally, Mitra should be allocated RM2 bil to address the social-economic woes of the Indians.

“Is the present Mitra leadership prepared to put forward this request to the unity government, or is the Mitra leadership too timid to make such a request to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim?”

Ramasamy said the present annual budgeted allocation of RM100 mil is a “miserable pittance” in view of the vast contribution of Indians in “blood and tears” for the wellbeing of the country.

“It is good that funds are successfully allocated, but there is more to the role of Mitra than meeting bureaucratic requirements,” he reckoned.

“The present leadership must serve the best interest of the Indian communities and seek more funds in the region of RM2 bil as such an allocation can provide respect and dignity to the sacrifice of the Indian community.” – Sept 22, 2023


Main pic credit: Malay Mail

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