11 September 2019
Press statement by MCA National Organising Secretary cum MCA Johor Youth chief Ling Tian Soon
Reservations against the Tabung Penyelenggaraan Sekolah Kerajaan & Institusi Pendidikan Tinggi Awam
MCA disagrees with the Tabung Penyelenggaraan Sekolah Kerajaan dan Institusi Pendidikan Tinggi Awam (Maintenance Fund for Government Schools and Public Institutes of Higher Learning) launched recently by Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik. Meanwhile, our party urges the federal government to take full responsibility on national education.
Dr Maszlee’s statement that the Ministry of Education (MoE) will allocate RM60million to develop education whereby 90% of it will be for operating costs, while the balance is for development purposes is irrational. According to Budget 2019, out of the RM60.2 billion allocated for the Education Ministry, most of it was to be used to pay the salaries of teachers besides operating costs. Hence, why should 90% of the RM60million of this Maintenance Fund still be required to be allocated for operating costs?
Paying income tax is the responsibility of the rakyat, while the prudent usage and distribution of allocations are the responsibility of the government. If the government is really lacking in funds, why should the rakyat still have to donate to the government to do their jobs, similar to the Tabung Harapan set up in 2018? Although the rakyat have responded to the government’s call for donations, not only has government debt NOT declined, but it has sharply increased. The manner in which the donations are being managed or used has yet to be explained to the public.
Although MoE’s allocation accounts for 19.1% of the total Budget 2019, MoE still reduced many welfare schemes involving students and teaching resources, besides eliminating a special provision of RM24.50 per student for co-curricluar activities. This move resulted with schools across the country to be short of funds and had to organise various activities outside the classroom, including during Sports Day to solicit funds from the general public. Meanwhile, MoE also abruptly terminated the services of contract cleaners and security guards triggering chaos and anxiety at the school level.
Education is the government responsibility as well as a strategic policy for the nation. If the Education Minister under the Pakatan Harapan leadership now has to solicit donation for government schools and public universities, does this mean that MoE has failed in resource management? Or has MoE wasted resources for other purposes unknown to the masses? It is clear that the MoE needs to clarify and detail how it will use and has used the RM60.2 billion from Budget 2019 to restore public confidence.
Ling Tian Soon
MCA National Organising Secretary
MCA Youth Johor Chairman