Indian community not sidelined under Budget 2021, says National Unity Minister

KUALA LUMPUR: The RM100mil allocation for the Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (Mitra) under Budget 2021 is not the sole source of funding for the Indian community, says National Unity Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique.

"I hope the word 'sidelined' is not used where the Indian community is concerned.

"Allocation for the Indian community are not 100% under Mitra or my ministry.

"It does not mean that the allocation for the community comes solely under my ministry and that other ministries had no responsibilities," she said when winding up her ministerial replies in Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday. (Dec 1).

She said there were many other schemes and programmes under other ministries to help the Indian community.

She noted her ministry had only taken over Mitra in April this year and was left with RM65mil from the previous budget allocation.

To ensure that allocation under Mitra is better monitored, Halimah said her ministry formed two committees to keep tabs on how the money is used and spent.

"Approval for grants under Mitra will not be in the hands of the minister or ministry's secretary-general, instead there will be one committee to evaluate applications for approval and another committee to monitor how the grant is used," she said.

On the increased allocation for the ministry's development expenditure from RM92.8mil to RM102.9mil in 2021, Halimah said this was due to ongoing commitment under the 11th Malaysia Plan.

She added the increase was also because the Unity Department, which was under the Prime Minister's Department, was placed under the ministry in March.

She also assured lawmakers that there was sufficient allocation to ensure the smooth running of 1,781 kindergartens and 41 day care centres under her ministry which are managed by 2,254 contract teachers.

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