Be ruthless investigating alleged misappropriation of Mitra funds – Kula

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 27 – Former Human Resources Minister and Member of Parliament for Ipoh Barat, M. Kula Segaran today urged the authorities to be ruthless and swift with their investigation into the alleged misappropriation of the Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (Mitra) funds.

“These funds were meant for the poor and the most vulnerable Indians in the country but instead was stolen. Those arrested must face the full brunt of the law to send a clear message that this must never happen again.

“It is unfortunate that there are heartless Malaysians that are willing to rob monies that were set aside to help the most marginalised especially during one of the toughest times in our history following the onslaught of the Covid-19 Pandemic. This should never repeat,” he said in a press statement here today.

He also called on the authorities to be transparent with details of the case as it is of public interest.

“The question on everyone’s mind: are political elites siphoning this aid through their cronies must also be answered.

“News reports that 60 percent of the grant allocation received by companies, individuals and foundations for the purpose of implementing socio-economic development programmes did not reach the proper target group is one of the greatest betrayal to our own people.”

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) arrested 16 company directors Monday night on suspicion of being involved in the misappropriation of funds from Mitra.

The suspects, aged between 24 and 68, were nabbed in a massive operation around the Klang Valley. One more person was arrested on Tuesday. Fifteen of them have been remanded for investigation.

Earlier this month, National Unity Minister, Halimah Sadique informed the Dewan Rakyat that Mitra had only RM65 million out of the annual RM100 million allocated for the social development of the Indian community when Perikatan Nasional took over the government in 2020. She had said the rest had been used to pay off debts owed in the previous year.

This was later disputed by former National Unity Minister P.Waytha Moorthy, who suggested that MACC investigates the claims made by Halimah.

In a later development, Member of Parliament for Kota Kemuning, Ganabatirao Veraman also called for an investigation by MACC.

“For the sake of transparency, the minister must disclose the list of creditors who had been paid off so that the public will know them and are able to assess the programmes that the entities had carried out using the funds of MITRA.

“At the same time I would also like to request the Minister of National Unity to publish the list of entities that have received RM49.1 million from MITRA for 2021. The list must be detailed (name of receiver, the amount, type of programme and duration) for the sake of transparency so that people will know the entities that had received funds,” Ganabatirao said.