The MIC president must come clean on the special allocation meant for Tamil schools, says PKR.
PETALING JAYA: MIC president G Palanivel has been challenged to reveal details of the RM100 million special allocation for Tamil schools, announced by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak when he tabled the 2012 Budget in September 2011.
Malacca PKR vice-president G Rajendran said while the Education Ministry had recently said that it dispensed RM10 million out of the RM100 million, the remainder of RM90 million remained a “mystery”.
He said the failure of the Tamil schools to utilise the fund before December, 2012 would result in the money “going back” to the Finance Ministry.
Rajendran said Palanivel, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, who has been entrusted to handle the special allocation for Tamil schools, should come clean on the matter and not stay silent without giving any explanation.
“Palanivel should take the blame since nobody in the MIC has any knowledge and clue as to what had happened to the allocation… he has been handling this [allocation] without even informing his party leaders where the money was going,” he told FMT.
It was reported in February that the Cabinet had agreed to channel the funds through Surya Cooperative, set up by the party in October, last year.
The RM100 million allocation was meant for 369 partially-aided Tamil schools nationwide for three categories, namely maintenance and upgrade, building additional blocks and building new schools.
However, it is learnt that the 369 partially-aided Tamil schools in the list were reduced to 224 by Palanivel.
Rajendran said the problem was further compounded after Surya Cooperative director D Ravindran disagreed with Palanivel’s plan to reduce the number of schools meant to receive the aid.
“And the ego battle may see Palanivel handing the money back to the Education Ministry,” he said.
A ‘stupid’ move
FMT also learnt that two MIC leaders, namely S Veerasingham and MM Samy, had raised questions on the RM100 million at a party central working committee (CWC) meeting recently.
“Palanivel told them [CWC members] that he will tell them details of the fund soon… but until now nothing has been made public,” said a CWC member when contacted.
Rajendran said the money should be fully utilised as sending back the unused money to the ministry would be “a stupid” move.
“Once the money is sent back, they [MIC] have to start the whole process again if there are Tamil schools wanting assistance and this would take time. Even if the money is rolled back and added to the other RM100 million announced in the 2013 Budget, the process of applying for funds would be long and tedious,” said the opposition grassroots leader.
The idea of special allocation to schools nationwide was mooted by Najib in a move to upgrade the condition of partially-aided schools.
In 2012, Najib announced RM500 million for national schools and RM100 million each to Chinese, Tamil and religious schools respectively.
He also promised an additional RM100 million for Tamil schools in the 2013 Budget.
Palanivel could not be reached for comment as he is abroad and is only expected to return to work in early next month.