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The Chinese And Indian  Community Does Not Want Hishamuddin Hussein Onnís Resignation As Education Minister But Wants Him To Restore RM895.4 Million And RM 91 Million In Development Funds Entitled By Chinese And Tamil Primary Schools Under The 8th Malaysian Plan.


Press Statement

by Lim Guan Eng  

(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): DAP considers the additional RM10 million under the Eighth Malaysia Plan 2001-2005 to repair dilapidated Chinese, Tamil and mission schools announced by Education Minister Hishamuddin Hussein as grossly inadequate and  would not resolve the problems faced by such partially assisted schools.  This RM 10 million special allocation to partially-assisted schools is clearly a response to the rejection of the emergency motion by BN filed by Bukit Mertajam MP Chong Eng in Parliament yesterday on the tragic death of schoolteacher Chan Boon Heng in Kedah last week.

DAP expresses disappointment that Hishamuddin failed to announce a special payment to the Chan Boon Hengís family for the loss of life in the course of carrying out his duties as a teacher. Chan Boon Hengís death is a cruel reminder of how the extent of government neglect can cause loss of life and this RM 10 million is a token sum that is at best only a superficial effort and at worst an insensitive dismissive response to redress decades of neglect of Chinese and Tamil primary schools.

Even though Hishamuddin claimed that he would resign if the RM 10 million is not enough, it is clear that this amount is insufficient from the partial list of 66 such schools throughout the nation needing repair work. On Sept 13, the Education ministry revealed that up to June, 48 primary schools (39 national, seven Chinese and two Tamil schools) and 18 secondary schools are in need of urgent repair work. Based on RM 10 million  distributed equally to these 66 schools alone, each school will receive only RM 152,000. How much repair work can be done for RM 152,000 or when the repairs for some schools can cost up to RM 500,000/- each?

There are 1,573 partially-assisted primary schools comprising 884 Chinese primary schools, 380 Tamil primary schools and 309 national schools (basically missionary schools). As the 66 schools are only a partial list, a full list of the 1,573 partially-assisted primary schools may reveal many more schools in need of repair. In that case, Hishamuddin may have to make good his promise to resign.

The Chinese and Indian community does not want Hishamuddin Hussein Onnís resignation as Education Minister but wants him to restore RM895.4 million and RM 91 million in development funds entitled by Chinese and Tamil primary schools under the 8th Malaysian Plan. Under the 8th Malaysian Plan, RM 4.9 billion was allocated for the development of primary schools with the distribution of such funds contrary to their student enrolment:-

  • National primary schools obtained RM 4,709 million or 96.1% of the total allocation even though they comprise only 76% of the total primary school enrolment;
     

  • Chinese primary schools obtained only RM 133.6 million or 2.7% of the total allocation even though they comprise as much as 21% of the total primary school enrolment; and
     

  • Tamil primary schools obtained only RM 57.6 million or 1.2% of the total allocation even though they comprise as much as 3% of the total primary school enrolment.

For national primary schools to get almost the entire development allocation when they comprise only 76% of the student enrolment is grossly unfair to Chinese and Tamil primary schools. Based on the 21% student enrolment, Chinese primary schools should receive RM 1,029 million whilst the 3% student enrolment of Tamil primary schools entitles it to RM 147 million.

For Chinese primary schools to be given only RM 133.6 million when they are entitled to RM 1,029 million whilst Tamil schools are given only RM 57.6 million when they are entitled to RM 147 million shows the extent of neglect by the BN government under the 8th Malaysian Plan from 2001-2005. This RM 10 million special allocation is a pitifully small amount when compared to this shortfall of RM895.4 million and RM 91 million for Chinese and Tamil primary schools respectively.

The time has come to correct the past injustices and redress the grievances faced by these partially-assisted schools which have made their contributions towards the nationís economic development by teaching doctors, engineers, accountants, scientists and lawyers. Only by restoring this shortfall of RM895.4 million and RM 91 million for Chinese and Tamil primary schools respectively can we ensure that the sacrifice of Chan Boon Heng shall not be in vain.


(20/09/2005)      

                                                       


* Lim Guan Eng, DAP Secretary-General
 

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