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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — Claims that Putrajaya is reducing allocations towards uplifting the Bumiputera and rural communities are untrue, said the finance minister.
On the allegation that MARA’s operating expenditure will be cut from RM2 billion to RM1.3 billion, Lim Guan Eng said this only appeared so because the agency’s scholarship and student loans were now classified as development spending.
“The fact is, total allocations for MARA’s operating and development expenditure will remain at RM3.7 billion in 2019,” he said in a statement.
Lim also criticised those misleading the public with claims that the Rural and Regional Development Ministry will receive over RM1 billion less next year, explaining that this was because agencies such as Risda and Felcra, among others, now came under other ministries.
The minister insisted that funds for agencies dealing with rural development will increase, citing the more than doubling of Yayasan Peneraju Pendidikan Bumiputera’s (Peneraju) funds to upskill Bumiputera youths, which will go from RM90 million this year to RM210 million in 2019.
Felda will also receive an additional RM100 million for development for a total of RM260 million in 2019.
While noting that the government is moving towards open tenders for job awards, Lim said his ministry’s guidelines still maintained a 30 per cent quota for Bumiputera firms in terms of annual work value.
“Additionally, jobs valued below RM200,000 remain reserved for G1 class Bumiputera contractors (previously known as Class F) and implemented using quotations,” he said.
The minister also gave his assurance that assistance schemes for groups such as genuine smallholders, farmers, and fishermen will all be continued in the form of targeted subsidies to avoid abuse and leakages.
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, among others, criticised his successor at the Finance Ministry following the tabling of Budget 2019, accusing Lim of slashing funds for agencies catering to Bumiputera and rural Malaysians.