KLANG, Nov 2 – With just one working day left ahead of Deepavalli this Thursday, Klang Member of Parliament Charles Santiago has made an urgent request that the Unity Ministry pay the salary of 500 preschool teachers who are owed thousands of ringgit and face the prospect of a gloomy celebration this year.
He said Unity Minister, Halimah Mohd Sadique, had been informed of the plight of the 500 Indian teachers working in 200 pre-schools across the country and that according to MIC President, Vigneswaran Sanasee, she had promised they would get their ten-month salary before Deepavali.
“This shows total complacency especially when the salary would enable them to make the necessary preparations to celebrate the festival,” he said in a statement issued here today.
These teachers conducted online classes throughout the pandemic from January this year, in an initiative by Mitra (The Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit) to uplift education amongst the Indian poor and supported by five non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
In fact, some of the teachers had put out their own money to support these classes, Charles said.
The five coordinating NGOs say all necessary documents have been submitted to Mitra.
Led by the Ministry of National Unity, Mitra is a special unit addressing the socio-economic needs of poor Indians but has courted controversy recently for a lack of transparency in its disbursement of funds.
“Mitra cannot undertake this hands-off approach just because Halimah has promised funds would be disbursed before Diwali, one of the most important festivals celebrated by Indians.
“We need to know about the efforts taken to follow-up with the Unity Minister or her office.”
Charles also called on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to instruct Halimah to make the payments urgently.