2nd September 2021
In the spirit of bipartisanship and the common good, Pakatan Harapan initiated a Dialogue with the Malaysian Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz on 30th of September 2021 to discuss some critical social economic issues that have been left unattended, poorly implemented, or late in delivery resulting in poor utilization of critical resources and stalemate in issues related to the empowerment of marginalized community and the development of Human capital in the country.
The critical issues that was brought to the attention of the Finance Minister was related to the long-standing issues related to the social economic wellbeing of marginalized B40 Indian Community, entrepreneurship development, empowering the Indian transformation unit Mitra, upgrading physical structure of Tamil schools, enhance the equity participation from the present 1.2% and enlarging opportunities for the development of skill training Institute such as my skills foundation.
An increase of the budget for the year 2022 for this purpose was presented which was far bigger than the year 2021 allocated for the Indian community. For example, Pakatan Harapan’s proposed allocation for Tamil schools for the year 2022 was RM 100,000,000 which is far more than Budget 2021 which was RM 29,980,000
There was a pertinent need to revive the Indian Blue Print that has been plagued by improper implementation of its principles and contents. The stated Key Performance Index (KPI) was not adhered to. This failure alone has resulted in digression of the initial good intentions for the Indian Community.
One of the pertinent suggestions by Pakatan Harapan was to have an effective composition of Bipartisan committee members (MPs from Government & Opposition) to ensure the optimization of Mitra grants disbursed for B40 Indian households.
The grants should be disbursed upon MOU signing with guarantees and monitored for agreed outcomes. It is a well known fact that Mitra plays a vital role in the realization of the Indian Blue print.
On Labour issues we highlighted the importance of increasing the minimum wage, tabling the amendment to the Employment Act and Trade union Act that was formulated during my tenure as a Human Resources Minister.
We also asked for the protection of gig workers, conversion of outsource contract workers in hospitals to permanent government workers and creating a social security blueprint that takes into consideration future pandemics and economic decline.
Another issue of importance was the necessity to give financial assistance to replace foreign workers as prescribed by the Malaysia@work initiative.
In view of the current pandemic, MTUC need some financial help. A drop of membership and revenue has affected the MTUC a lot.
This is in line with the universal spirit of Human rights. Adhering to human rights would create the necessary eco-system for the empowerment of Human capital in the country.
It is hoped that through the spirit of Bipartisanship the Finance Minister would be able to resolve long standing issues that have it roots in poor implementation and lack of oversight in parliament.
Pakatan Harapan will continue to be an effective opposition and at the same time work in a bipartisan manner to resolve complex issues facing the nation in the current context of pandemic and post pandemic scenario.
Effective implementation of policies and blue prints through vigorous oversight is crucial if Malaysia is to make the necessary transition towards a highly developed country.
How it treats marginalized communities and respects the rights of workers will determine its prosperity and international stature in the long run.
M. Kula Segaran
MP for Ipoh Barat