SUBANG JAYA: Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) elected Indian representatives say they have decided to keep and revamp a unit created by the Barisan Nasional government to empower the Indian community.
Speaking after a meeting today, three-term Klang MP Charles Santiago said they would present a proposal to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad on implementing PH pledges for the Indian groups.
“What we have confirmed today is that Sedic will remain a government institution but it needs to be revamped,” he said, referring to the Unit for the Socio-economic Development of the Indian Community.
Santiago said Sedic needed to be audited on its financial and human resource aspects because it had received a large sum of money from the previous government.
“The federal government gave them about RM50 million last year to run their programmes through non-governmental and business groups.
“We need to see the status of the money spent and whether the money really goes to the targeted group,” he said.
Santiago said some people had voiced their concerns over the money spent and the projects run by Sedic.
Sedic comes under the Prime Minister’s Department and is tasked to oversee the Malaysian Indian Blueprint (MIB) created during former prime minister Najib Razak’s administration.
MIB has set out a 10-year plan to improve the lives of the Indian community.
Last year, Santiago and fellow PKR Kuala Langat MP Dr Xavier Jayakumar criticised MIB as it did not address problems faced by hardcore poor Indians.
Indian rights group Hindraf also labelled the blueprint as an “April fool’s trick”.
Besides Sedic, PH had also said it would not scrap the early childhood education programme or the National Permata Programme (Permata), founded by Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor.
Permata was instead placed under the education ministry.
Meanwhile, Jayakumar said PH was also working towards helping stateless Indians get their identity cards (ICs).
“We have a target of 100 days to solve stateless issues that the Indians have been facing for over five decades.
“This is part of our manifesto for our voters,” he said.
Santiago said the home ministry should “open up some space” and accept the applications for citizenship.
“It is time for Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to open up the process and not be a ‘ministry of barriers’ to the people,” he said.