‘Budget ignores real needs of Chinese, Indians’

Chinese, IndiansPETALING JAYA: Two MPs from DAP have expressed dissatisfaction with the way the Chinese and Indian communities are treated in the proposals for Budget 2017.

“The budget does not do much for the Chinese community,” Taiping MP Nga Kor Ming told FMT. “What the Chinese community wants is fairness and equal opportunity.”

In the proposed budget tabled in Parliament yesterday, Prime Minister Najib Razak said the government would allocate RM50 million for the development of Chinese new villages, RM20 million for micro-credit loans under the supervision of the Malaysian Chinese Women Entrepreneurs Foundation and RM20 million for loans to Chinese hawkers.

Nga dismissed these as mere “goodies” to attract Chinese voters and said Najib had shown disrespect to the community.

What the Chinese wanted, he said, was a “fair share” of the budget, one that would show acknowledgement of their contribution to nation building.

He said there should have been a significant allocation for Chinese education. “Education is the best investment towards developing human capital,” he added.

He said Putrajaya should have taken its cue from the Penang and Selangor governments, which each allocates RM500,000 annually to independent Chinese high schools.

Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran shrugged off the RM10 million allocation for Tamil schools as representing an apparent attempt by Prime Minister Najib Razak to “cultivate a special relationship with the Indians” so that they would give their votes to Barisan Nasional.

If the past was anything to go by, he said, this would be another “temporary” promise.

He pointed out that four years ago the government allocated RM50 million for skills training that was supposed to benefit 3,000 Indian youths.

“However, the target was not achieved,” he said. “Not even 1,000 people were trained.”

He said he questioned the Human Resources Minister on the issue and the answer given was that the ministry was “making efforts”.

“All this is good to hear,” he said, “but it does not address the needs of the needy.”

He called for the establishment of a unit to monitor such training. “And make sure the unit is answerable to Parliament.”

He said the public should not be swayed by such promises. “I’m saying this because promises made in the past were not implemented as a whole. So the future is bleak.”

MIC Treasurer-General S Vell Paari however welcomed Najib’s proposals, saying they showed that the government was committed to managing expenditure responsibly to fulfil its promises to the people.

“All initiatives in Budget 2017 prove that the government has never sidelined the Indian community,” he said.

He said the budget was the “most inclusive” ever drafted for the nation.