‘Little Napoleons’ preventing funds from reaching target groups, claims PKR rep (26.3.15)

DAP's Charles Santiago (middle) and PKR's Xavier Jayakumar (right) at the press conference yesterday. The two wanted the government to be more transparent with how funds for the middle-class community were being utilised. — TRP pic by Adib Hakim

DAP’s Charles Santiago (middle) and PKR’s Xavier Jayakumar (right) at the press conference yesterday. The two wanted the government to be more transparent with how funds for the middle-class community were being utilised. — TRP pic by Adib Hakim

Opposition lawmakers today have called for more transparency by the government on how funds for middle-class communities are being utilised.

Noting that there was huge inequality and disparity between the rich and poor in Malaysia, DAP lawmaker Charles Santiago said the Indian community was the worst hit.

“The government has given a lot of money, especially for Indians. Many NGOs, were given a sum of between RM10 million and RM30 million each but we need to know how this funding is being utilised.

“We want the government to make public the amount of funding disbursed through the Cabinet Committee on the Indian Community (CIC), established in 2008 to address the sufferings of the Indian community,” the Klang Member of Parliament told reporters at a press conference today.

PKR assemblyman Xavier Jayakumar said there were programmes such as the Socio-Economic Development of the Indian Community (SEDIC) which was given RM100 million through voluntary organisations to address Indian concerns.

He said there were also loans for small scale and medium enterprises.

“Though it’s a pretty picture on paper, the funds do not reach the people on the ground.

“There are little Napoleons out there who stop the funding from reaching these people. So the government needs to rewrite implementation policies so that aid reaches those who are applying for it.”

Xavier said another area of concern that needed government attention about the Indian community was the fact that Indians made up 7% of the population, but 70% of prison occupants were Indians.

“Major crimes are committed by them and this is something the government needs to pay attention to and solve the imbalance which has taken place in the past 20 years.”

Apart from suggesting an “impact assessment” to determine how funding was utilised, Santiago reiterated the need for the minimum wage to be increased to RM1,500.

This, he said, would benefit all races in the country, since inequality was worse today compared with 10 years ago.

Xavier said there had been a stagnation in wages for the past 20 years. The middle class, he added, was shrinking.

“The wage increase will be the first step in admitting that although labour productivity increased by 200% in the period from 1977 to 2007, wages have remained largely stagnant.”

He also called for the 11th Malaysia Plan to be released to Members of Parliament before the next parliamentary sitting in order for them to be able to provide feedback.

Source: The Rakyat Post

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