LETTER | Voices are being raised as 2022 approaches, after nearly two years of fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
The concern this time, however, is linked to the 2022 budget allocations. Despite the slogan “Malaysian family” exposed by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob to prioritize the values, unity and well-being of Malaysia, the ” family âdid not see a fair distribution of the allowance in the 2022 budget.
The budget clearly shows a large disparity in allocations for bumiputera and non-bumiputera, especially the Indian population, although this is the very fabric of the “Malaysian family”.
An analysis of the 2022 budget allocation shows that 11.4 billion ringgit (over 97%) has been allocated to bumiputera while only less than 3%, or 345 million ringgit, has been allocated to non-bumiputera.
Another allocation breakdown shows that the Indian community received only RM 145 million, which is about 1.2% of the total budget for all Malaysians, aka âMalaysian familyâ.
Proof of poverty
Over the years, both bumiputera and non-bumiputera, including Indians, have paid taxes to help with the country’s economic development spending. It was done in the minds of the Malaysian family even before the slogan was invented.
Despite this, statistics still show evidence of widespread poverty among all races in Malaysia. As such, no opposition is raised to the allocation of bumiputera. What is raised is fair treatment in the allocation for non-bumiputera to reflect an inclusive and non-discriminatory budget.
Focusing on the problems faced by the Indian community, another critical point that needs to be addressed in the budget is how Indians in the low income group are going to survive as a prudent government plan to help the neglected poor or the poor. Marginalized Indians is missing from the budget.
As for the meager allowance for the Indian community, this is obviously a miscalculation because, in addition to the socio-economic development of the community, the allowance must also include and prioritize education, welfare and aid. food to the underprivileged and neglected Indian community.
The RM 145 million allocation was specified by the government to be distributed to the Indian Entrepreneur Development Program through Tekun Nasional – the national economic fund of the entrepreneurial group.
Although the support of a group of entrepreneurs is important for the community, the main concern is the daily subsistence, well-being and education of the disadvantaged sector of the community.
Recalibrate the 2022 budget
In addition, budget allocations should also be sufficient to implement effective programs aimed at providing skills-based training and upgrading young Indians to ensure that employment needs are met.
Taking these issues into consideration, the Penang Hindu Association (PHA) humbly calls on the federal government to review the 2022 budget and make the necessary recalibrations to meet the aforementioned needs of the Indian community.
Changes to increase the allowance for non-bumiputera, especially the Indian community, need to be made.
PHA humbly suggests increasing the proposed three percent to at least five percent of the total budget allocation for non-bumiputera.
It is also hoped that a responsible body will be established to oversee the management of budget allocations within the Indian community, without fear or favor.
The PHA believes that these suggestions could help somewhat reduce the possibility for the Indian community in general, and the disadvantaged sector of the community in particular, to fall behind in today’s society.
What is more relevant to the Indian community is a fair budget allocation to improve their socio-economic status rather than leadership slogans such as â1Malaysiaâ, âNew Malaysiaâ or âMalaysian Familyâ.
P MURUGIAH is president of the Hindu Association of Penang.
The opinions expressed here are those of the author / contributor and do not necessarily represent those of Malaysiakini.