Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Finance Ministry’s clarification on RM 2.89 billion for Indians rather shocking and disappointing



Press Statement by M Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat in Ipoh on 19th May, 2015

Finance Ministry’s clarification on RM 2.89 billion for Indians rather shocking and disappointing

Secretary General of the Treasury Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah was recently quoted as saying that the government had allocated RM2.89 billion for Indians.

His announcement was questioned and obviously under pressures, the Finance Ministry has today clarified that the allocation of RM2.89 billion from 2012 to 2014 was for the provision of annual operating and development expenditures to ministries and agencies to implement various programmes and projects for the Indian community.

I find the Ministry’s clarification rather shocking and disappointing.

Firstly, Secretary General of the Treasury is not an ordinary position and Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah certainly knows the difference between operating and development expenditures.

How could he have in could he have included operating expenditures in his blowing trumpet act for the BN government?

If such justification could be accepted, then soon BN government will soon include salaries paid to Indian ministers and teachers as help to the Indian community!

So was there an earlier attempt to mislead and confuse the Indian community?

Secondly, after having been questioned, Mohd Irwan should know that it is insufficient for his Ministry to clarify with general answers.  He should give detailed breakdown as to how the money has been allocated.

Thirdly, he should also reveal if the allocation has achieved the programme objectives and has truly benefited the Indian community.

Take for example the RM50 million allocated in the 2013 budget to train 3,200 Indian youths. Why less than 1000 youths have been trained?

I did raise this question in Parliament and the government’s reply was that time was needed. How much time still needed?

The problem is not more time but real political will from the federal government to truly help the Indian community and to ensure all programmes are effective and beneficial to the Indian community.

I wish to remind government leaders and Mohd Irwan that if they want to blow their trumpets about helping the Indian community, they should always remember what former MIC president Dato Seri Samy Vellu said in 2008 and let Indian community know what the government’s report card is.

For the record, Dato Seri Samy Vellu had said in 2008 that there were seven critical issues that had caused uneasiness among the Indian community and the government must immediately take steps to address them.

The seven were:
1. an equitable participation in the share market;
2. Indian intake in public universities;
3. better employment opportunities, especially in the public sector;
4. increase the number of government scholarships;
5. greater access to entrepreneurship training and micro-credit loans;
6. an effective urban poverty eradication programme; and.
7. the establishment of a dedicated mechanism to monitor and evaluate the delivery of public sector services in a just and fair manner.
Let me also remind the government and MIC leaders that although they may choose to forget what Samy had said, the Indian community will remember what he said.