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Mendaki records first budget deficit

Malay self-help group Mendaki recorded its first ever budget deficit last year, due to an increase in spending for activities and programmes for the community, especially in education.

SINGAPORE: Malay self-help group Mendaki recorded a S$1.8 million budget deficit last year -- its first ever -- although that could be a good thing.

Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim, who is also Mendaki's chairman, said that is because the group has increased its spending for activities and programmes for the community, especially in education.

Mendaki said it handed out close to S$31 million to assist more than 4,170 students under its Tertiary Tuition Fee Scheme (TTFS) -- double the amount and number of recipients from 2011.

Meanwhile, the amount of loans disbursed under its Student Loan Scheme increased from S$6 million to S$9 million over the same period.

The self-help group has also ploughed more resources into extending and improving its tuition scheme by increasing the number of places and teachers.

Dr Yaacob, who is also Minister for Communications and Information, said: “We have a deficit last year of S$1.8 million. We think the deficit is manageable primarily because we do have a healthy reserve.

“But going forward, we have to ensure that we can continue to fund our programmes on a sustained basis, and we adopt a two-prong strategy.

“Firstly, obviously, is to tap on national resources. There's a lot more funding now for youth programmes, for example. So we have diverted some of our youth programmes to tap on national resources.

“Secondly, of course we have to be more productive in Mendaki. We've held our head count, and at the same time, we've ensured that our staff do a lot more of the work and developing our volunteer base.” 

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