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Auditor General’s report on Ministry of Youth and Sports: Focus on beneficial initiatives for the youth

I support the call by Pokok Sena MP Mahfuz Omar for the full audit on the annual Hari Belia (Youth Day) celebrations to be made public by the Auditor-General.

As Mahfuz has stated, the bill for the event has risen from RM16 million in 2011 to RM18.07 million in 2013.

He has also claimed that the celebrations this year will cost as much as RM30 million.

The Ministry of Youth and Sports has apparently committed to rectify the issues highlighted in the audit.

Still, it is in the interest of transparency and accountability for the full findings to be made public.

Ordinary Malaysians—particularly the young—deserve to know if there are problems or shortcomings in how taxpayer ringgits are being spent, as well as what is being done to resolve them.

In this time of growing austerity, when more and more burdens are being passed on to the rakyat, every sen must be accounted for.

Furthermore, the government must justify how these events—which apparently cost astronomical sums to organize—will truly benefit and empower the youth in Malaysia.

While almost everyone likes a good party, the monies could perhaps be better spent for more important, far worthier causes like providing scholarships for students, loans for entrepreneurs and affordable housing for the youth.

One must also wonder why other Putrajaya seems to ready to fork out such large sums of cash while being so dismissive of other, less-costlier pro-youth initiatives, like ending the harassment of student activists and lowering the voting age.

I hope the Minister of Youth and Sports, Khairy Jamaluddin, will take this matter very seriously.