Ask Waytha about Mitra’s huge debts, says Halimah

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KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (Mitra) has not been receiving its full RM100 million annual allocation for the past two years because it has “debts” to repay, national unity minister Halimah Sadique said today.

She told the Dewan Rakyat that Mitra only had RM65 million for 2020, with RM35 million used to pay off debts from programmes implemented previously, when the agency was under the prime minister’s department.

For this year, she said Mitra only had RM49 million at its disposal with RM51 million used to repay more debts.

She denied claims making the rounds on social media alleging that she was responsible for the RM100 million funds allocated to Mitra not reaching the targeted recipients, saying she would issue a statement on the matter.

To optimise Mitra’s funds, she said she formed two committees to evaluate applications for funding made to the agency as well as to monitor the programmes conducted with these allocations.

“Both of these committees are chaired by the ministry’s secretary-general and were formed after I was appointed minister. I have no power to give any approval to any matters, as was done previously.

“You should ask the previous minister why he spent Mitra’s funds to the point that it eats into the 2020 and 2021 allocations,” Halimah told opposition MPs in her winding-up speech on the 12th Malaysia Plan.

She also said the committees tasked with evaluating and monitoring the distribution of allocations would break down the award of funds by states, meaning that there would be no big allocations to just one NGO.

Meanwhile, if a project undertaken is cancelled or agreements not fulfilled, Mitra will retract the funds awarded.

“Give me time to clean up, develop and make Mitra healthy.”

Halimah was first appointed national unity minister by former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin under the previous Perikatan Nasional-led government.

The role was previously held by P Waytha Moorthy, as a minister in the prime minister’s department under the former Pakatan Harapan administration.

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