LETTER | Federal Territory MIC's liaison chief and incumbent MP for Tapah, M Saravanan has joined in with his other colleagues in the MIC to say that Dr Mahathir Mohamad did little for Indians.
He said that Mahathir merely provided a grant of RM50 million and another RM70 million in special draw for the establishment of AIMST University in Kedah.
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who succeeded Mahathir provided a grant of RM198 million and Samy Vellu raised RM188 million for AIMST University.
Shares from Telekom and Tenaga Nasional was not given free to MIC, but the party has to buy them so that the money could be used to set up Tafe College in Seremban.
However, compared to the earlier prime ministers, Najib is the only one who literally gave hundreds of millions every year to the Indian community. In fact, distribution of money to the Indian community was hardly channelled to the MIC, but through the operation of many Indian NGOs such as Sedic.
Sad to say that Saravanan, in his attempt to whitewash Najib, might have forgotten to say a few things about what happened during the days when Mahathir was in power.
While he boasts of the fact that AIMST University is worth RM1 billion, I would like to know who are the owners of this university. I remember Samy raised money from the poor Indian community for setting up of the university. Even if the university is worth billions, does it belong to the Indian community? Can Saravanan answer this?
Sorry to say that shares allocated to the MIC from Telekom and Tenaga National did not go to the benefit of the Indian community. Telekom shares, although allocated to Maika Holdings, were hijacked by three companies belonging to the cronies of Samy. I am not sure how the Indian community benefitted from Tenaga shares when these were all hijacked by individuals for their enrichment.
Najib might have given much prominence to Sedic on the grounds that he does not believe in distributing funds to the MIC. My question is: to what extent the Indian community benefitted from the funds allocated to Sedic? I hear many Indian organisations that were mainly set up to get government funds were the main recipients and the money allocated seldom was meant for proper use.
Even if Najib has allocated more funds to the Indian community in comparison to Mahathir, the question is whether the funds allocated were put to good use.
The matching grant for the establishment of AIMST University and the special low premium for the land were some of the notable gains of the Indian community. Yes, Samy raised funds from the community, but the question is to what extent AIMST University is benefiting Indians from poor families.
I hear that those Indians who contributed funds to the establishment of AIMST University cannot even get scholarship or loans for their children to study at the university.
In fact, the university administration is more prone to admitting students from other ethnic communities to ensure the steady flow of funds. So much for the propaganda about AIMST being a university set up for the poor Indian community.
It is not what Mahathir did contribute to the Indian community but whatever little that was there, was hijacked, for the private interests of the individuals who had close connections to the MIC.
Really, it was not the quantum of financial contribution but whether such a sum was put to the good use of the Indian community.
Saravanan should explain to the Indian community whatever happened to the funds he obtained from the government to ambitiously embark on the chilli planting scheme. Unfortunately, like other MIC related projects, the whole scheme fizzled out as soon as it was started.
There is no point in blaming Mahathir if the MIC could just manage funds for the betterment of the Indian community. The fault is not in the stars but in ourselves!
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.