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Waytha: Mitra can’t give ‘direct’ allocations, TI-M should check facts

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Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department P Waythamoorthy believes that Transparency International Malaysia’s (TI-M) recent criticism over fund allocations involving his department has been based on incorrect information.

The NGO had implored the minister to channel the Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit's (Mitra) funds “directly” to needy communities rather than to NGOs, to avoid the money being misappropriated as what had happened during the previous BN administration.

In a statement today, Waythamoorthy explained that Mitra did not have the mandate to allocate funds “directly”.

He further found TI-M’s suggestion “disappointing and shocking” as the NGO appeared to have misunderstood Mitra’s role.

“Mitra is a small unit within the Prime Minister’s Department, without the set up of a ministry. It has no mandate to implement direct initiatives nor does it have the capacity to do so.

“It is strange that a reputable body like TI-M never bothered to check its facts or engage anyone from Mitra to find out its actual terms of reference, role and scope of authority.

“Mitra’s emphasis is in its main pillars - which are education and training; economy and career; social and well-being; and identity and inclusiveness. These pillars are well illustrated in (Mitra’s) website with their scope and aspirations,” he said.

Waythamoorthy said that due to its limited staff of 28 people and a large mandate, Mitra needed to collaborate with multinational firms, local companies, NGOs, training centres, social enterprises and employers to carry out programmes.

“Those organisations (that are) provided with the grants to carry out programmes are always subject-matter experts with a strong platform to carry the programmes to serve the community in their respective areas,” he added.

Details are there

In its critique, TI-M had also urged the minister to release the names of aid recipients, the amount of financial assistance given to them, the purpose of the aid and who was monitoring the programmes.

Waythamoorthy explained that most of these details were already publicly available and the unit was closely monitoring how the money was being spent.

“All the information relating to who the recipients (are), the types of programmes (and) the amount is all on our website.

“As most of the programmes have just started, the recipients of the grants are under obligation to provide Mitra with the individual particulars on who participated in their programmes.

“These are ongoing programmes, and Mitra continues to monitor and ensure full compliance of these programmes,” he said, adding that all of Mitra's procedures adhered with the government’s transparency demands.

Waythamoorthy, thus, dismissed TI-M’s criticism.

“The statement by TI-M in jumping the gun and making assumptions based on improper facts is shocking,” he said.

The minister was previously engaged in a heated tit-for-tat with Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy over the Mitra funds.

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