Waytha Moorthy must not betray PH, says Ramasamy

(FMT) – It is pathetic that Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department P. Waytha Moorthy took issue with Transparency International (T-I) over the disbursements of funds meant for the Indian poor through the Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (Mitra).

I agree with T-I that direct disbursements for the poor and the needy is the way to go.

The old and archaic habit of funds being mediated through NGOs not only limits the fund intended for the poor but also gives rise to abuse of power and corruption.

Rather than accepting the idea proposed by T-I, Waytha has criticised them for not understanding the rules and regulations that stand in the way of direct disbursements.

Moreover, since Mitra does not have the mandate for direct disbursements, he thinks that T-I might have prematurely criticised him.

Waytha Moorthy goes on to give a list of obstacles that stand in the way of direct disbursement.

I am not disputing the obstacles that prevent the direct disbursement of funds to the poor, but the question is not so much legal or procedural, but justice for the poor.

After having received RM100 million from the government some time ago, why didn’t he address the legal and procedural issues, but only when questions were raised?

Moorthy criticised regarding the handling of the RM100 million Indian funds

His inability to address the fundamental issue about direct disbursements raises questions about whether Mitra is the right body to focus on the needs of the Indian poor.

Socioeconomic Development of the Indian Community (Sedic) that operated during the BN days might not be there, but is Mitra any different from this agency?

To date, Mitra has disbursed about RM31.5 million to more than 50 NG0s, training centres and private companies.

The balance of RM68.5 million will have to be disbursed in the next few months.

If Mitra is going to use the same methodology as in the initial period, then questions might be raised as whether the Indian community will benefit from indirect allocations.

I think there is still time for Waytha Moorthy to think about this matter and take the correct measures.

I say it again, I have nothing personal against Wathya Moorthy or the agency under him. However, he needs to be transparent not just to the government or the prime minister, but also to the Indian public.

There is no point in being arrogant by saying that he is only responsible to the prime minister or the Cabinet.

Recently, after much pressure, he has sought to eat humble pie by calling for a meeting with PH Indian MPs to brief them on fund disbursements. However, he is yet to call PH Indian state elected representatives.

During the BN days, the Indian community was basically cheated of the much needed development funds. I don’t want this repeated under PH.

Waytha Moorthy might think that he is not a member of PH, but surely without PH, he would not have been given the present minister’s post.

So, please do not betray the trust that Malaysians have placed on the PH government.

P Ramasamy is the Penang deputy chief minister II.