Unity Minister must stop stringing us along and show proof for money spent

It’s only so much that anyone can manoeuvre because when caught red-handed, that space shrinks fast.

Minister of National Unity, Halimah Mohd Sadique, is feeling the heat for channeling millions into a research arm under the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) to do online classes for poor Indian school kids during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Specifically, the Yayasan Strategic Social received RM9.1 million from Mitra or The Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit, under the purview of the National Unity Ministry.

Let’s ask ourselves this question: why would a research centre conduct online educational classes?

It doesn’t make sense and more so when a large segment of the poor kids don’t have access to laptops or the internet.

When questioned in Parliament, Halimah is yet to confirm if the MIC received the money although its president, Vigneswaran Sanasee, has said he reached out to 18,000 students with the said funds.

Why use a political party in the first place, when clearly the money should have been streamed through civil society organisations?

And why on earth are Zoom classes amounting to millions of ringgit? On top of this, the Yayasan has no expertise in education.

Halimah’s answers to legitimate questions raised about how Mitra’s millions were spent is either to challenge us by asking us to lodge a report with the anti-corruption agency or repetitively saying the organisation has been plugging overdue debts.

There are also other allegations against her such as funds not reaching targeted kindergartens resulting in 6000 poor Indian kids not attending classes and a minimum of 550 teachers out of jobs.

The minister isn’t new to controversy, and has much to explain about the true value of aid baskets to the poor during the pandemic. The total cost shown was RM12.4 million.

And of course, there are other claims saying more money has been diverted to the MIC.

Halimah may very well have proper accounts and documents to show the flow of public funds. So, all I am asking is for her to provide the evidence.

At the crux of this debacle is the fact that the funds were allocated to eliminate Indian poverty. As such, we can’t and won’t back off from our demands: enough of the wayang kulit; show us the proof.

Media statement (2) by Charles Santiago in Klang on Tuesday, 12th October 2021