Grants worth millions of ringgit meant for the upliftment of Malaysian Indians had been mismanaged by the Socio-Economic Development of the Indian Community Unit (SEDIC), the latest audit report has found.

According to the Auditor-General report 2018 Series 1, the special unit under the Prime Minister's Department had no records or database to monitor some RM203.89 million worth of funds given between 2014 and 2018, to run development programmes for the Indian community, leading to the funds not being utilised for its intended purpose, or going missing.

The report also said that SEDIC did not follow the criteria in selecting its NGO recipients.

For example, 49 unqualified NGOs were given RM18.91 million of funds in 2017, the files of 20 NGOs for 23 programmes worth RM10.77 million were not filed by Sedic in 2014, and 5 NGOs and one skill training institute did not extra funds worth RM2.86 million, said the report.

The audit review also found that between 2016 and 2018, SEDIC had disbursed a total of RM38.15 million to the Special Projects Division, Implementation Coordination Unit (ICU) of the Prime Minister's Department for contribution programmes for NGOs and Indian places of worship.

Participants of five programmes worth RM1.9 million, surveyed at random for the report, also said that they were not aware of such programme, let alone attend it.

SEDIC's lack of management and monitoring of these NGOs and their programmes had allowed for such fraud to take place, said the report.

SEDIC was formed by the previous BN administration in 2014, to provide grants and assistance to Indian NGOs which hold programmes to assist the Indian community.

After Pakatan Harapan took over the federal administration, the unit was rebranded as the Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (MITRA), but it is still parked under the Prime Minister's Department.

Source: Malay Mail
Photo source: Berita Harian, Astro Awani & The Malaysian Times