Now acting education minister, Dr M says will retain controversial free breakfast scheme

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad attends the opening ceremony of Tenaga Nasional Berhad's Balai Islam Complex in Kuala Lumpur January 16, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad attends the opening ceremony of Tenaga Nasional Berhad's Balai Islam Complex in Kuala Lumpur January 16, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16 — The Education Ministry will proceed with its free breakfast programme for national schools, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

However, the prime minister and acting education minister said this will now be available only to eligible students.

“We will continue the programme, but it will be focused on those who cannot afford it only,” said Dr Mahathir.

He said it would not be fair to offer free breakfast across the board.

“Because now the free breakfast is offered to all pupils, this means that those who have money and are wealthy or have eaten at home will also benefit from it.

“So it’s not fair. We will continue the programme, but will add on for those who deserve it,” Dr Mahathir said.

The free breakfast programme is scheduled to start from January 20.

The scheme was among those Maszlee Malik introduced prior to his resignation as the education minister earlier this month.

Maszlee previously said the free breakfast idea was aimed to benefit 2.7 million primary school students, estimated to cost between RM800 million and RM1.67 billion, according to figures given in the Dewan Rakyat last October.

He added that it was based on Japan’s school meal plan and went beyond filling stomachs to instil discipline among students.

However, the idea drew flak and was said to have incurred Dr Mahathir’s displeasure.

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