Media Conference Statement (2) by Lim Kit Siang at the DAP/PR Sibu by-election media centre on Thursday, 13th May 2010:
Sibu people thankful for Najib’s RM15 million for Chinese schools in Sibu but the Prime Minister should be reminded that it should be at least RM30 million if not RM150 million cheques he should have distributed yesterday
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak came to Sibu yesterday as a very-early Santas Claus in the month of May instead of Dec. 25, with bags full of goodies and presents.
At a gathering of some 1,000 Chinese educationists and school teachers yesterday, Najib presented financial allocations of RM15 million for 65 Chinese primary schools and five independent Chinese secondary schools in Sibu.
This works out to RM10 million for the 65 Chinese primary schools and RM5 million to the five independent Chinese secondary schools.
This means that the five independent Chinese secondary schools gets RM1 million each while the 65 Chinese primary schools will get RM153,846 each.
The people of Sibu are thankful for Najib’s RM15 million for Chinese schools in Sibu but the Prime Minister should be reminded that it should be at least RM30 million if not RM150 million cheques he should have distributed yesterday.
Firstly, government financial allocations for schools, regardless of stream of education, should be part of citizens’ right and not a gift from the government, as the government funds are derived from the people’s taxes.
Secondly, government financial allocations for schools should be institutionalized and not personalized depending on whether there are by-elections or not. This is to avoid abuses of power and injustices to different groups of Malaysian citizens in the country. As such, will Najib give an undertaking that what he allocated yesterday for the Chinese primary schools and independent Chinese secondary schools will be an annual feature of his administration to demonstrate that Malaysia is a government of laws and not of men?
Thirdly, if the RM10 million allocation to the 65 Chinese primary schools and RM5 million allocation to the five independent Chinese secondary schools are to be an annual feature, this will work out to RM15 million a year. As this year Najib’s second year as Prime Minister, he should have signed cheques for RM30 million to include last year and the new year ahead.
Fourthly, the figure should actually be higher than RM15 million a year. Taking into consideration the great contributions Chinese primary schools and Chinese independent secondary schools in Sibu had made to nation building particularly in the education and creation of highly-qualified human resources (many of whom are forced to leave Sibu and even go overseas to find a living), what the Federal Government should allocate annually should be in the region of RM1 million for each Chinese primary school and RM2 million for each independent Chinese secondary school – which will work out to RM65 million for Sibu’s Chinese primary schools and RM10 million for the five Sibu independent Chinese secondary schools, i.e. RM75 million. For two years of Najib’s premiership, this will work out to RM150 million.
This is why the people of Sibu, while thankful for Najib’s RM15 million for Chinese schools should remind the Prime Minister that it should be at least RM30 million if not RM150 million cheques he should have distributed yesterday.
After all, if the Federal Government can spend RM77 million just to secure a meeting between Najib and President Barack Obama during the Prime Minister’s recent visit to Washington, and the country can write off RM320 billion-worth of the oil-and-gas rich Blocks L and M in South China Sea to Brunei in trying to secure the Sultan of Brunei’s consent to drop their territorial claim to Limbang (and failing), the people of Sibu are fully within their rights to ask for an annual allocation of RM75 million for Chinese schools in Sibu.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor