KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 — The Education Ministry’s Free Breakfast Programme for primary school students beginning next year will cost the government between RM800 million and RM1.67 billion, Parliament heard today.
Education Minister Maszlee Malik told the Lower House during Question Time today that the programme will affect over 2.7 million students throughout the nation while teaching them to be civic minded.
“The concept of free breakfast goes beyond a meal. More importantly, the teachers will dine with the students and cultivate civic-minded behaviour. The students will dine together and there will be no barriers for race, religion or economic status.
“After their meals, they will learn how to recycle their leftovers and wash their plates and utensils. The estimated cost is around RM800 million to RM1.67 billion,” said Maszlee in his reply to a question from Jerai MP Sabri Azit (PAS).
At the same time, teachers who are dining with the students will also receive the same meal as their pupils.
Furthermore, the operation will be divided into two mechanisms, with the first being a full menu including fruit with a 30-minute meal time.
The second mechanism will last 10 minutes and will follow the concept of “grab and go” where students will have snacks, bread, cereal or boiled eggs.
Students in the morning session will have their meals before 8.30am while those in the afternoon session will dine before 4pm.
Touching on the possibility of food poisoning, Maszlee said this could be avoided through the lessons learned during the programme’s pilot phase as well as the Education Ministry’s “Rancangan Makanan Tambahan” programme.
He added that the Health Ministry will ensure that the menu offered to the students will contain all the nutrition that a growing body and mind need.