KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 27: Since its formation, the Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (MITRA, formerly known as SEDIC), has seen surrounded by various issues. Leakages in the distribution of its funds, inefficiency in the management of programmes, and a lack of transparency have been among some of the complaints and criticisms against the unit made by several Members of Parliament and leaders of Indian based non-governmental organisations.
Pointing this out in a statement issued here today, Klang Member of Parliament Ganabatirau Veraman said the recent announcement of placing the unit back in the Ministry of National Unity has brought the issues back to square one.
He suggested that the unit should remain under the Prime Minister’s Department till a clear direction is set for MITRA, which has been tasked with raising the socio-economic development of the Indian community in Malaysia.
Every year, the government allocates RM100 million to MITRA for the purpose of supporting the Indian community but the effectiveness of the programmes it runs or its future direction remains unclear and so far there have been very little indications that it has brought about the needed reformations for the Indian community whether in terms of economy, education or in social sphere.
The announcement of transferring the unit back to the Ministry of National Unity has further compounded the sentiment of disappointment in the Indian community, Ganabatirau said, considering that the various complaints raised against MITRA in the past was the reason for its transfer to the Prime Minister’s Department in the first place.
It was transferred there to raise the level of its transparency and efficiency in administration, he said.
Indeed, many agencies responsible for the socio-economy upliftment of a community have been placed under the Prime Minister’s Department such as TERAJU, Ganabatirau said.
What is the difference between TERAJU and MITRA, when the objectives of both agencies are to raise the socio-economic well being of the respective communities, he said, adding that TERAJU has not been placed under the Ministry of National Unity.
Ganabatirau further suggested that MITRA eventually be made a federal statutory body, where it can report to a Board and directly to the Prime Minister.
This will raise credibility and transparency in the administering of the allocations given to MITRA, considering that its annual financial statement would have to be tabled at the Cabinet and brought to the Parliament as well.
All other operations of MITRA would have to monitored by MITRA’s board members comprising prominent leaders from the Indian community, he said.
“It is my hope that the Prime Minister would give due consideration to my proposal to ensure that MITRA achieves the objectivews for which it was set up. If it remains under the Ministry of National Unity, it would invite various reactions from the community, which is already facing many issues and is disappointed with many unfulfilled promises. Their support is crucial for this Unity Government,” he said.