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RM100 million budget for MITRA is peanuts – Should be allocated RM 2 billion

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COMMENT BY PROF DR P.RAMASAMY,
FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF MINISTER II, PENANG

RM100 million budget for Mitra is peanuts

The Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (Mitra) apparently has successfully allocated its budget of RM100 million to the poor needy Indians in the country.

The chairman of Mitra, Sungei Buloh MP R. Ramanan was proud to say unlike the earlier years where the allocated budget was not successfully allocated, it is different this time around.

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Not only has Mitra allocated its budget of RM100 million for this year, plans are underway to assist the Indian hardcore poor.

Whether the funds have been pledged from the allocated RM100 million or whether there will be an additional allocations from the government remains to be seen.

I understand that allocation of the RM100 million is at level of specific pledges rather than the actual disbursement.

Whatever the case, it can be taken for granted that the funds have been allocated.

While Ramanan should be credited for this feat although spending the money allocated is not something extraordinary but a normality.

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.

It is hoped that Mitra will strive to be a transparent and responsible organisation in years to come.

Ramanan (pic) should go beyond the announcement of Mitra’s successful allocation, there is need to announce, perhaps later, as who the beneficiaries of the funds were. Hopefully, the funds
allocated for the Indian NGOs are not channeled for purposes other than assisting the poor.

The problem is not so much Mitra or the current leadership, but the allocation of RM100 millions is nothing but peanuts for Mitra.
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.

This goes show the importance that the Madani government is giving to welfare and well-being of the Indian community.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim is more interested in entertaining movie stars from India rather than examining the plight of the Indians.

It serves no purpose to say that Indians, Chinese, Malays are his children when ethnic discriminatory of Indians and others are allowed to be perpetuated by the unity government.

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

Is the present Mitra leadership prepared to put forward to
this request to the unity government in general and Anwar in particular?

Or is the Mitra leadership too timid to make the request?
The present of annual budgeted allocation of RM100 million is a miserable pittance in view of the vast contribution of Indians in blood and tears to the well-being of the nation.

Few years back, some Indian NGOs sought to siphon off funds allocated for Mitra for selfish purposes.

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

The present leadership must have the interest of the Indian communities to seek more funds in the region of RM2 billion.

Such an allocation can provide respect and dignity to the sacrifice of the Indian community.