Dead farmers received RM57.9 million in subsidies 2016-2018
Thousands of deceased padi farmers, many of whom passed away more than 10 years ago, received government subsidies and incentives worth a total of RM57.92 million between 2016 and 2018.
This was uncovered in an audit by the National Audit Department into the management of subsidies and incentives for the farmers.
The subsidies were for fertilisers and pesticides.
According to the audit, in the first planting season of 2016, some 3,210 deceased farmers received the aid. This increased to 7,061 deceased recipients in the second planting season of 2018.
The date of death for recipients stretches back as far as 1967. A total of 2,337 of the recipients had been deceased for more than 10 years as of Dec 2018.
The Agriculture and Agro-Based Industries Ministry, in response to the audit, said they did not reject the possibility that the subsidies and incentives were being collected by the recipients' next of kin.
It said a check done together with the National Registration Department on farmers' data found that 11,712 have been confirmed as deceased, while 5,099 have no records registered with the Department.
It explained that dead farmers were still on the list of recipients because it has not been purged. The list has since been updated for the first planting season of 2019.
Meanwhile, the audit also found that between 2016 and 2018, RM28.8 million in subsidies and incentives went to between 1,427 and 2,421 aid recipients whose identity card numbers "did not exist".
The ministry explained that this was due to clerical errors when entering the particulars of the deceased farmers, and that this too has been fixed.
Other weaknesses found by the audit include late delivery of fertiliser to farmers.
A total of RM192.6 million in fines on suppliers for late delivery of fertiliser or supplying fertiliser that did not meet specifications, between 2016 and 2017, were only sought by the government in July 2019, and payments have yet to be made.