There are no end to financial scandals in general and amongst the various ethnic communities in the country. It gives the appearance that Malaysians have not learnt lessons from the past as these scandals are very often repeated in their various manifestations.
These scandals go to show that the leadership in general and the ethnic leadership in particular have failed the ordinary people. In Malaysia, history very often repeats than not in form of financial scandals and abuse of public funds.
Funds meant for the uplift of the poor have been hijacked to cater for the interests of those who manage public funds. But the unfortunate thing is that these scandals are allowed to repeat and those responsible getting away scott free.
Those who have robbed the public of huge sums of money are roaming the corridors of power. The impression is given that robbing the country of public funds pays in two respects: the chances of getting away and second, they can come back to power through the political route.
The Malaysian Indian community, about 7 percent of the population is the most marginalised and deprived.
Consisting mainly of the working class in urban and rural areas, the community has been fundamentally neglected in a political system where the primacy is given to the majoritarian interests.
From time to time, attempts have been made to assist the community through the efforts of the political party such as the MIC and lately public funds have been allocated through special agencies to assist the target group, Indians in need for assistance.
In the 1980s, the MIC set up the Maika Holdings, a special purpose vehicle to mobilise funds from the community for investment purposes. With a short period of time, nearly RM100 million were collected from the MIC members to launch the fund under the former MIC president S. Samy Vellu.
In the initial period, the accumulation of funds was impressive, in fact very few companies could have matched the performance of the Maika Holdings. Years back I estimated that if the company had engaged in prudent management of the funds, the Indian community could have assets worth a few billions.
However, it was matter of time before greed and selfishness took hold of the Maika Holdings that led to its ruin. Finally, the company was sold to an outsider, the shareholders receiving only 80 percent of the value of their shares.
Under the MIC there have been other scandals associated with the cooperatives run by some leaders. Maika Holdings is a sad chapter in the lives of Indians.
It was a humiliation as a result of irresponsible and greedy leadership. The sad thing is that those responsible for the collapse of the Maika Holdings have never been charged for criminality. Even the prime mover behind the Maika Holdings responsible for hijacking the Telecoms shares to three other companies that had nothing to do with the welfare of the Indian community is yet to answer to this treachery.
But Maika financial scandal was not the last as initiatives were formed to assist the poor Indians.
Under BN, during the period of Najib Tun Razak, Socio-economic Development of Indian Community (Sedic) was set up with public funds to assist the Indian community.
How the funds were disbursed and who benefitted should be a subject of investigation by the law enforcement agencies.
To date, there has been no investigation for I believe that funds meant for the targeted groups or individuals never reached them.
It was simply run like an MIC outfit, in other words, one can speculate as to the actual beneficiaries.
Under the PH administration, Sedic was renamed and reorganised as the Malaysian Indian Transformation Research Unit (Mitra)
under the former minister P. Wathyamoorthy.
RM100 million was allocated in 2019 and in 2020, before the PH government collapsed due to treachery.
Afte the PN government took over the reins of power, Mitra was placed under the Ministry of National Unity.
I understand that a number of police reports have been lodged against Mitra and those responsible for the disbursement of funds.
The matter was raised in the Parliament and the minister in charge said that when she took office, the full RM100 was not given to Mitra, only a partial amount.
She was trying to put the blame on those who managed the funds during the PH period without mentioning the fact that funds were also abused after PN government took power.
The MACC is investigating the scandal to the effect of arresting 16 directors of companies that received funds from Mitra.
There might be further arrests.
The idea of assisting the Indian community indirectly by hanneling funds to non-governmental organisation is improper and highly unethical.
Such methodology will not be able to assist those in need of funds directly. Funds given to NGOs might be subject to abuse.
I understand the a big portion of the funds allocated might be used for administrative purpose of the NGOs including salaries of their staff.
Whatever remains might be passed over to individuals or groups.
Both Sedic and Mitra are guilty of not passing the funds to the affected groups and individuals directly.
Those responsible for these two organisations are guilty of not channeling the funds directly to the recipients.
This indirect nature of disbursement will only benefited the NGOs.
This is the reason why the funds meant for the community have been abused to the advantage of the directors of the organisations.
I urge the enforcement authorities to investigate to investigate not only the wrongdoings of Mitra, but also its predecessor, Sedic.
It is shocking to hear that organisations were just set up to apply for Mitra funds with no experience in community work.
If the MACC is serious in its investigation, then many heads will roll, including some influential and politically connected individuals.
There is terrible curse on Indians in the country. They are not only squeezed by the racist system but those leaders who have maliciously and irresponsibly diverted public funds from the community to few individuals.
How can Indians have faith in the system and their leaders?
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