A LACK of funds is the main reason why Indian community non-governmental organisations (NGO) are unable to function effectively.
The issue was discussed during a meeting between deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Dr Edmund Santhara Kumar and 100 representatives from Indian community NGOs at Menara DBKL auditorium on Saturday (July 10).
Edmund said competent NGOs needed to be sufficiently funded as they were the frontliners in addressing the community's socio-economic problems.
“The NGOs could be broken into clusters such as education and religion, and focus on their areas of concern, ” he said, adding that NGOs were also impartial as they are not politically motivated.
Answering to requests for immediate funding, Edmund said there not not much funds at the moment for quick disbursement, as most allocations for the year would have been used or reserved.
He explained that he was focusing on a long-term solution to solve the problem.
“I am looking at tapping into 'sin tax' derived from activities such as gambling, as well as sale of alcohol and cigarettes.
“On average, between RM7bil and RM8bil of sin tax is collected annually... even if RM200mil of it is given back to the Indians, our funding problem will be solved.
“The challenge is to justify the need and convince the government to allocate the sum.
“I will be preparing a working paper and will work with the Human Resources Minister M. Saravanan to bring it to the Prime Minister and cabinet’s attention, ” he said.
He also advised NGOs to be transparent with their expenditure reports and to audit their accounts properly to instil confidence in funders, which will help in getting more funds in the future.