LETTER | The Penang Hindu Association (PHA), jointly with six other NGOs are protesting against the allocation for the Indians in this current budget for the year 2021.
The percentage of poverty-stricken Indians currently is already one of the lowest, and with the implementation of this budget, it will definitely create greater suffering and misery to the downtrodden Indians, although they are paying income tax yearly, which is a revenue for the government.
However, Budget 2021 has very clearly differentiated and is biased towards one direction only at the expense of other groups, particularly for the Indians whose ratio is only 0.72 percent.
This can be considered as a "punishing budget", creating a miserable and painful economic condition for the Indians. It will be a miracle for the Indians to financially survive through this budget and even if they do, it will be at the mercy of public charity and probably create more beggars.
The Indians, besides the Chinese, being the affected parties, are therefore voicing and protesting their woes to the federal government and seeking their indulgence to review this proposed Budget 2021 to make it similar to at least the previous budget i.e. the 2020 budget.
The allocation for education has been left out for the Indians, and therefore by five years later, the percentage of Indians seeking terrestrial studies will become minimal and dismal and further aggravate the number of Indians eligible to be employed. Currently, the vast number of these students are funded by organisations (NGOs) other than the government, although it is the government that should take up the lead.
The allocation for Indian-related sectors particularly in education (which is the foundation for any nation) has always been insufficient, let alone for tertiary students to obtain grants or financial assistance to continue their university, college or higher institute studies. The disparity is obvious and the current Budget 2021 as widened this further to scarcity.
The B40 group and the poverty-stricken Indians who are already currently suffering will be further and adversely affected therefore leading them to loot, steal, rob, violence etc just for survival. It is the duty of the government to reset and correct this unfair and unfair situation, instead of contributing to the disparity ad worsening the differences.
There are Indians who currently are facing difficulties in obtaining medical treatment or hospitalisation, which will worsen with the implementation of the Budget 2021. Medication costs will be out of reach for these Indians, especially with the vast and extensive reductions in the budget allocation for health.
We, the undersigned NGOs, therefore appeal to the government and Members of the Parliament not to accept the Budget 2021 as proposed but to review and revise it to an equitable allocation of funds for all races keeping in mind the minority groups of Indians and Chinese.
We, the Penang Hindu Association together with the other Indian associations appeal on behalf of the Indians to the federal government to restudy, review and correct this unfair situation which widens disparity and worsens differences.
We would also urge the federal government to base the allocations on a needs-based policy rather than on race-based policy as this will be more objective.
The above is signed by the chairpersons of the:
1. Penang Hindu Association
2. Malaysia Hindu Sangam (MHS), Penang State Council
3. Malaysia Hindudharma Mamandram, Penang Branch
4. Penang State Hindu Youth Council
5. Pertubuhan Kebajikan Kebudayaan & Sosial Kaum India Pulau Pinang
6. Persatuan Sivik Negeri Pulau Pinang
7. Persatuan Kebajikan Otrumaiyin Karangal Pulau Pinang
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.