Dear YAB Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim,
YAB Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will be tabling national budget for the year 2024 next month in the Parliament. The Ministry of Finance as well as the Ministries are conducting series of consultation with the relevant stakeholders to get the right input in order to prepare for the economic improvements of the country based on the 12th Malaysia Plan, Economy Madani policy and National Industrial Master Plan 2023. Last year, a total of RM333 billion was announced as a national budget. I’m confident that, our budget will be increased at least 10% from the previous amount looking after the initiatives announced by the government in the past 1 year.
As per the source, I believe that Malaysia has secured a sizeable amount of funds that can be used to source the national budget. National debts will be continuously reduced, and more fiscal policies will be introduced to spur the national economy.
Race based affirmative policies and initiatives are still maintained at this point of time to elevate the socio-economic status of certain races. We need to prepare a stable and equitable platform for all the people in order to excel further. As I said earlier, the national budget should cater to the needs of all Malaysians regardless of race and religion. That’s the pillar of Malaysia Madani.
However, there are a few things that I wish could be included and implemented through the National budget 2024:
1. YAB PM should allocate about 1% from the development fund for MITRA. What we are getting right now is about 0.001% from the development fund (DE) in the year 2023. This is not enough to cater the needs of the Indian community as a whole. This allocation should be used for the empowerment of Indian community.
2. Allocation to the Tamil Schools. Tamil schools have existed for more than 200 years. Many Tamil schools are under the category of ‘Bantuan Kerajaan’ and not “Sekolah Kerajaan.” As such, the Tamil schools are not receiving the allocation similar to the Sekolah Kerajaan. In fact, the majority of Tamil schools didn’t receive any allocation to repair the school toilets as announced by YAB PM because it is only for Sekolah Kerajaan. This year, we only received about RM30mil, and from the sources, we were told that only RM19mil were spent so far. So, I hope for next year, YAB PM will consider giving RM50 mil or more since many schools are in a bad shape, including the school toilets.
3. Increase allocation for religious worship places for Non-Muslims. In previous years, we have been allocated about RM50mil. However, we need to understand that Non-Muslims communities comprises of Hindu, Buddhism, Christians. Further, we have to share this allocation with Indians and Chinese, too. Therefore, I urge the YAB PM to increase this allocation to a minimum of RM100mil so that all Non-Muslims can share to upgrade or maintain or build new places of worship in a legal manner.
4. The budget for the new civil servants intake must be increased in the upcoming year. This is to facilitate intake of new graduates into the Civil Service. The number of Indians in the Civil service too need to be reviewed and should be increased. Right now, Indians are only 3% or less in the civil services. We need to increase intake of Indians in service related agencies like JPJ, Jabatan Imigresan Malaysia, Jabatan Kastam Diraja Malaysia, Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia, Jabatan kebajikan Masyarakat, and Local Councils.
5. In this regard, I would like to draw YAB PM’s attention to increase the number of Indian civil servants for promotion and place them in the strategic positions. Any qualified Indian civil servants should be promoted and posted to the right positions so that they too can contribute effectively to the development of the nation. There are sectors within civil service that can be filled by only 1 particular race. This is like putting high levels of distrust among other Malaysians in protecting the interest of our beloved country.
6. We need to increase the budget for the universities in order to increase quota to allow more students to get the courses of their choice. Currently, there are many students who have scored straight ‘A’s in SPM and 4.0 CGPA in STPM or Matriculation or Foundation studies but could not get a seat for their preferred courses in local varsities. This frustration will lead to brain drain among the students who excelled in their studies. Therefore, I urge YAB PM to increase the budget for the universities to allow more students to study in the local universities in their preferred courses.
7. YAB PM also needs to consider increasing the Tekun Nasional allocation for Indian entrepreneurs to uplift their socio-economic status. Currently, only RM30mil is being allocated for Indians which is less than the previous years. It is only 0.0003% from the Development Fund (DE) RM99 billion. I humbly request YAB PM to increase to RM300 mil, which will be about 0.003% from current DE allocation. By doing so, many Indian entrepreneurs could be developed in many areas of businesses. In addition, the process and the requirements to get this loan must be reviewed and should be easier as well as flexible for any commoner to apoly.
8. Based on the Indian Blueprint, we have urged the government to help the Indians increase their equity share from 1% to 1.5% – 2.0%. One of the ways is by allowing Indians to purchase the Amanah Saham, which was allocated for Indians. Currently, many Indians are not buying the shares because they don’t have capital midal to buy it. Only a few Indians who are rich and capable of spending extra money buying these shares. This will not help the Indian community as a whole to increase their equity share. Therefore, the government should enable the banks to give loans with lower interest to the Indians specifically to buy and own these shares. This is similar to the initiatives that the government has introduced for Bumiputera. The dividend from the shares should be used to offset the annual loan payments. By doing so, many Indians can be brought out from extreme poverty as envisaged by our Prime Minister.
I hope the government and YAB PM will give due consideration to all the suggestions put forward as above and will be incorporated into the budget 2024 in order to uplift the Indian Community in Malaysia.
YB Ganabatirau Veraman
Member of Parliament Klang