Wanita Umno rep claims budget for Chinese schools secretly channelled to Chinese NGO’s

Wanita Umno representative Rahimah Mahamad speaks at the 2019 Umno General Assembly in Kuala Lumpur December 7, 2019. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif
Wanita Umno representative Rahimah Mahamad speaks at the 2019 Umno General Assembly in Kuala Lumpur December 7, 2019. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 — Wanita Umno representative, Rahimah Mahamad today alleged that funds are secretly being channeled to Chinese non-governmental organisations (NGO’s) from the allocated budget for Chinese schools.

She claimed that this was being done by the Finance Ministry without the knowledge of the Education Ministry, during her speech at the Umno General Assembly held at Putra World Trade Centre today.

“Education is one of the most important aspects in our lives and we cannot allow our children’s right to good education to be trampled upon by those in power.

“In Budget 2020 money given to Chinese schools was RM200,000 for 60 schools. I believe a lot of these funds from the Finance Ministry is going out through the backdoor to Chinese NGO’s without the knowledge of the education minister. 

“If so, what’s the use of having a minister who just sits in the office and has no courage to do anything about it?” said Rahimah.

In November, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government’s historic inclusion of Chinese independent secondary schools in its maiden budget was lauded by the ethnic Chinese community.

The government announced RM652 million in allocation for its annual fund of upgrading works for 11 types of schools — including Chinese independent schools albeit at the lowest share of RM12 million.

In comparison, national schools will receive RM250 million next year for the same purpose, while national-type Chinese primary (SJKC) and Tamil primary schools (SJKT) will each receive RM50 million, full boarding schools (RM50 million), Maktab Rendah Sains MARA (RM50 million), mission schools (RM50 million), government-aided religious schools (RM50 million), tahfiz schools (RM50 million) and registered religious pondok schools (RM25 million) and conforming schools or national-type Chinese secondary schools (SMJK) at RM15 million.

This marked a return of SMJK or the conforming schools after being omitted in the budget speech for the last two years.

However, the initiative was seen as controversial and political opponents took to social media to question the government’s motives.

Umno representative for Bukit Gelugor, Datuk Omar Faudzar echoed Rahimah’s sentiments. He said he was upset with the fact that Chinese schools and national schools shared the same allocation, whereas, in the past, national schools always got more.

“During Barisan Nasional’s time, national schools were given a high allocation of funds compared to vernacular schools. But today, when you look at the budget, he (Lim Guan Eng) gave everyone an equal allocation,” quipped Omar during his speech.

“This means if the budget is RM1,000, divide it with 10 schools and each school only gets RM100,” Omar complained.

Omar said that compared to national schools, vernacular schools have fewer students, but with the equal allocation for schools, the disparity in funds is unfair.

“Imagine this, for one student there could be seven teachers, one headmaster, one gardener and they get RM100,000. Is this fair?

“I implore all MP’s, especially Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman, the warmonger, to bring this up in Parliament and sock it to them,” added Omar.

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