REFERRING to the report “Speed up approval process for MM2H” (The Star, April 2), while the issue is the need to speed up the processing of the applications, a more important question is the effectiveness and outcome of the MM2H (Malaysia My Second Home) programme.
Since its inception in 2002, thousands of applications have been approved, according to reports from the Tourism and Culture Ministry which is responsible for promoting the programme. It would be interesting to know what the numbers are to date and the impact of the programme, including how much has been spent on it and the revenue collected.
Has this programme ever been evaluated to assess whether it has achieved the intended outcomes? Should it be continued?
There are hundreds of programmes in the public sector that have been or are being funded by the government under the various ministries. Most of them cost millions of ringgit to run. How do we know if they are effective and truly addressing a specific problem and/or need if they are not evaluated?
I dare say the government has wasted millions of ringgit on all kinds of programmes that are seldom or have never been evaluated.
I would venture to say that many of these programmes should have been terminated to save government funds, which could have been used more effectively for citizen-focused quality-of-life basic needs like health, education, transport, safety and security.
We can easily identify areas of public services that need urgent and critical improvements. Take hospitals and schools, for example. There is a dire need for more focused funding for these services but the excuse given for the sorry state of affairs in such instances is there is limited or no budget.
This does not make sense if the government continues to spend on costly programmes that have never been evaluated and probably should have been terminated a long time ago, thus saving the much needed resources for essential services that directly benefit Malaysians.
The previous government did see the need for evaluation but never really practised it. It would be prudent for the Pakatan Harapan government to pay serious attention to the millions of ringgit being spent on programmes without any form of evaluation.
I urge the government to revisit the entire agenda of programmes to assess how they are being funded and how they are evaluated annually. Let’s move on to finding practical ways to help Malaysians in issues that matter in their lives!