No new allocation for Indians in Budget 2024 - Sivarraajh

14 Oct 2023 05:31pm
Former MIC Youth chief Senator Datuk Sivarraajh Chandran
Former MIC Youth chief Senator Datuk Sivarraajh Chandran

SHAH ALAM - There’s no new allocation for Indians; hence, the existing funds allocated for the National Entrepreneurial Group Economic Fund (Tekun) and Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM) must be used optimally.

In saying this, former MIC Youth chief Senator Datuk Sivarraajh Chandran added in the Budget 2024 that there were no new allocations for Indians.

“Nevertheless, we want to leverage the allocation for Tekun and AIM to strengthen the position of Indian women entrepreneurs and help small enterprises,” he said.

Sivarraajh added that to secure more government financing, the Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (Mitra) must demonstrate that they could effectively use RM100 million and demonstrate that their programme has social impact.

“However, thus far, Mitra’s efforts have shown no noteworthy results.

“As I said in Parliament, Mitra has to play an expanded role in the community. Mitra needs a complete overhaul in terms of its purpose and direction.

“We shouldn't see RM300 million set aside for Indians, but we also need to understand that any ministry or agency's budget is for everyone, not just one race,” he said.

Besides, he said the budget for 2024 was regarded as both ambitious and realistic.

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He added that, with the unstable geopolitical environment throughout the world and the difficult economic conditions at home, this budget would lessen the burden on the poor.

“Targeted subsidies and significant investments in Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET), skills, and education will pay off in the long run and benefit the country.

“The budget for 2024 has a significant fiscal deficit of 4.3, and it will be difficult to reduce in the future.

“Gross domestic product (GDP) growth is forecast to be between 4 per cent and 5 per cent, however, we are unsure how the most recent Middle East conflict will affect Malaysia and the rest of the world,” he told Sinar Daily when contacted.

Sivarraajh said both the unemployment rate and inflation are controlled and comparatively low.

“The government has taken care of the most important problems, such as how to put food on the table and how to lessen the impact of rising food prices,” he said.

Commenting further, he said that to ensure that the community benefits from the Budget 2024 in its entirety, political figures, non-governmental organisations, and government agencies must help the community raise awareness and provide additional support.

“I believe more funding should be provided to strengthen education, entrepreneurship, and empowerment (3Es) in the community.

“The government might have set aside RM100 million to support and encourage Indian entrepreneurs, including a few small incentives for fledgling companies, and also set aside RM50 million for high-value, high-growth, or small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for Indians.

Besides, he said the Budget 2024 should eventually replace the affirmative action or race-based budget, as budgets were shared by all.

“That is our nation's future; we must determine how every Malaysian will profit from government initiatives.

“Regardless of ethnicity, the impoverished must be helped; all Malaysians must have access to education; and all Malaysians, regardless of race, whether they are Malay, Indian, Chinese, Asli, Iban, Kadazan, or more, must be provided economic opportunities.

“Then, even if our cultures, languages, and religions are diverse, we can all proudly claim to be Malaysians,” he said.