Manivannan Rethinam


Manivannan Rethinam
Manivannan Rethinam

We are keep getting comments that the 2021 budget is a very generous and fair budget for all and if that is true, than the budget should not segregated or marginalised based on Bumiputera versus Non-Bumiputera, Muslims versus non-Muslims or  Bumiputera / Malay versus other ethnicity thus I wonder how it is being claimed as generous and fair for all?

Let’s look at the specific budget items which are based on race/religion allocation for the purpose of supporting my argument:

2021 Budget Inequality
Source: Federal Budget 2021 (MALAYSIA)

With a total allocation of RM12.802 Billion, the non-bumiputera / minority group only gets 2.36% of the total allocation and if you look at specifically the allocation for the Indians, it is a mere 0.94% out of the total allocation.  It would not be wrong to say minority citizens are being treated as a 3rd class in our own country and the bumiputera are being treated as 1st class citizens of Malaysia. Where is the fairness in this? All religion including Islam teaches the people to be fair, equal and just but our budget is not even remotely close of achieving that objective? Does this mean the non-bumiputera citizens can pay less taxes moving forward?

We don’t think anyone will dispute if one were to claim the 2021 Federal Budget is clearly marginalising the minority community especially the Indians. The government should bear in mind that “POVERTY” is just like a “VIRUS” it does not choose based on colour, race or religion.

All we are asking is for the government to continue with the various initiatives to uplift the Bumiputera community without marginalising the minority community.

Apart from the Indian community specific allocation, we are also concerned with few other allocations which have an impact on every Malaysian such as MOH, Covid-19 Vaccine and “JASA”.

It is alarming to see Healthcare budget for MOH has been reduced for the following areas, Nephology, Pharmacy and supplies, Cardiothoracic, Radiotherapy  and  Oncology, General Medicine, , Anesthesiology and ICU, Respiratory medicine, and Psychiatry and mental health whereby allocation has been reduced between 9.11% to 77.61%.  Logically, during this pandemic time due to financial difficulties, many Malaysian will end up seeking treatment at government hospital and clinics however the budget have been reduced for key areas such as  Nephrology Pharmacy and supplies, Cardiothoracic and  Radiotherapy  and  Oncology which has  major reduction of  77.61%, 73.58%, 66.70% and 59.49% respectively. Does the government think that during Covid-19 pandemic other diseases and sickness will be taking a holiday?  As it is there are frequent complaints of shortage of medicines and long waiting lists for medical check-ups that require laboratory services and this budget reduction will definitely make the situation worse and delay timely treatments.

Updated Saturday, 07 Nov 202010:10 PM – The Minister of finance came out with a statement denying that the budget has been cut for the Ministry of Health and he claimed that it is parked under the Development expenditure however we find it illogical that operating expenditure items being park under development expenditure which is misleading and can be termed as creative accounting for reasons unknown yet”.

We are also concerned that MOSTI Minister’s assurance for the RM 3 billion budget allocation for Covid-19 vaccine supplies is nowhere to be found. How would Malaysian government procure the vaccine next year if it is not included in the budget?

Another surprise was the reactivation of Special Affairs Department (JASA)  and huge allocation of RM 81 million while the country is facing coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) where in the past “JASA” was allocated less than 30 million yearly budget. The government should be spending more on frontlines thus it is proposed that the “JASA” Budget is reallocated to Ministry of Health.

We hope the government will revise the budget allocation in a fair and just manner at least in relation to population ratio for community specific allocations, before it is passed in the parliament said Manivannan Rethinam, Chairman of Majlis Gagasan Malaysia and Wilayah Persekutuan State Chairman of Pertubuhan Amal Transformasi Malaysia (ARIMA). He is also the Executive Council member of Harvard Business School Alumni Club of Malaysia.


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