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What Is RM 10 million New Year bonus for more than 33 Chinese primary, secondary and independent Chinese schools when the Prime Minister can grant a special RM 23.5 million development allocation to one school, Bukit Mertajam High School (BMHS) under the 9th Malaysian Plan (9MP)?
by Lim Guan Eng
(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): MCA President Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting is very proud in announcing that the government will give a RM10 million New Year 'bonus' to Chinese schools when he gave out the initial sum of RM6.32 million to 33 primary and secondary Chinese schools yesterday. What is RM10 million when the Prime Minister can grant RM23.5 million development allocation to only one school, Bukit Mertajam High School under the 9MP? Ong has only the right to feel proud when he can succeed in getting RM 23.5 million for one Chinese school.
The RM 23.5 million development sum for one single school is even larger than the developments funds offered for all the 65 Chinese primary schools in Melaka or all the 96 Chinese primary schools in Penang under the 9MP. Clearly this is a general election ploy to win votes in the coming general elections. If the government is sincere in helping out Chinese schools then granting funds should be based on needs on a yearly basis and not only during general elections once every 5 years.
Compared to what one single school can get(RM 23.5 million), Ong should be ashamed of himself that so many schools have to share a miserly RM 23.5 million. The Chinese community knows that the government is only giving money now to buy votes in preparation for the general elections.
In January 2007, Prime Minister, Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced that the government is allocating RM20 million under the 9MP for the redevelopment of his alma mater BMHS in Penang, to build a new hostel, teachers’ quarters, a sports pavilion and a laboratory. There’s an additional RM3.5 million for the restoration work for the block of the BMHS.
Whilst DAP does not begrudge the use of public funds to invest in education, questions are asked what is so special about BMHS that it gets singled out for such a special allocation of RM 23.5 million, which is not available to other schools. MCA can not even obtain RM 23.5 million in development funds for all the 65 Chinese primary schools in Melaka or 96 Chinese primary schools in Penang under the 9MP. Why is it Chinese primary schools which are in dire need of development funds for new Chinese primary schools not treated equally?
Development allocation to Chinese primary schools and Tamil primary schools is a lowly RM 174.3 million and RM 64.8 million under the 9th Malaysian Plan out of a total of RM 4,837.3 million. For Chinese primary schools, this is only 3.6% of the total allocation even though they comprise 21.2% of the total primary school enrolment as shown by the table below.
Justice and fairness requires Chinese and Tamil primary schools to receive RM 1,025.5 million (21.2%) and RM 154.8 million (3.2%) respectively based on student population. However (as the table shows), Chinese primary schools only receive RM 174.3 million or 3.6% ( a shortfall of RM 851.2 million) and Tamil primary schools RM 64.8 million or 1.3% of the total development allocation for primary schools under the 9MP.
How discriminatory the treatment towards Chinese primary schools can be shown when the development allocation works out to only RM 4.50 per Chinese primary school student per month as compared to RM 33.30 per student per month for each national primary school student? The Chinese community can not be faulted for asking BN and MCA to explain why a national primary school student should receive more than 7 times in development funds than a Chinese primary school student if everyone is a Malaysian citizen enjoying equal political rights.
* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP