Waytha hits back at critics, says unaware of allocations for Indians

Waytha Moorthy

(TMI) – Revelations by certain ministers of funds being allocated to the Indian community, in particular the RM35 million budget to resolve the housing issue faced by residents of Taman Permata in Dengkil, Selangor, came as a surprise to  former deputy minister P. Waytha Moorthy.

Waytha also responded to ministers who had said that he wanted funds for the uplifting of the Indian community to be parked under him.

“Of course I wanted it that way because that is part of the MoU Barisan Nasional signed with Hindraf, that is to have a focused and targeted approach to the solutions for poor Indians,” he said at a press conference today.

Waytha said that this was also because other ministers and the units under them had a budget to work with.

“In my case, I didn’t have a minister and as a deputy minister with a specific function, the budget should be parked under my unit,” he said.

Waytha also refuted the prime minister’s statement that he was unaware of his impending resignation, saying Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had known since last October, when Waytha had applied for unpaid leave from the government.

On February 14, Najib said that the Hindraf chief should have discussed his resignation with him before doing it.

“His approach may be different, but he should have come to see me and talk about it before announcing he was going to resign,” Najib said in a statement, describing Waytha’s resignation as “disheartening”.

Waytha had resigned on February 10, saying Putrajaya had been “dragging its feet” in delivering its promises to aid the poor Malaysian Indian community.

Waytha said today that even the affected residents in Dengkil had called him to express surprise over the RM35 million allocation.

“They called me yesterday expressing shock because they are also unaware of this,” he said.

According to Waytha, Najib had said that the budget allocation for the Indian community would be factored into Budget 2014, but this was not done, despite the budget allocation being one of the four items he had asked for when he joined the government, under his 100-day working plan.

“Hindraf initially estimated that we needed some RM4.5 billion per year for five years to bring socio-economic programmes to uplift the Indian poor due to injustices over the past 50-over years.

“The prime minister agreed to this, but said that the figure was too high and we agreed that an expert steering committee would be set up to come up with a proper budget needed but this never materialised although I spoke to him about it many times,” Waytha said.

He said he had also given practical solutions to settle the issues of the stateless Indians and that, despite Najib saying he would consult with the home minister and the National Registration Department director-general on the recommendations, nothing materialised.

Waytha said that when the Jalan P. Ramlee temple demolition issue broke, he expressed to Najib his concerns that the terms of the MOU the BN signed with Hindraf over demolition of temples had been breached.

Further alarm bells rang when Waytha got into arguments with some Cabinet ministers at a meeting when he insisted that it was the government’s duty to look after the needs of displaced estate workers by providing them land and housing.

“They said that if they do what I was proposing, they would be setting a precedent. I failed to understand how setting a good precedent was a bad thing,” he said.