CYBERJAYA, Nov 11 — Former education minister Maszlee Malik today launched #UntukMalaysia — a movement aimed to resolve the learning problems faced by students nationwide since the Covid-19 pandemic struck the country.
He said the movement transcends ideology, politics, race and social economic classes, though extra attention will be given to students from the B40 low-income group.
“#UntukMalaysia is open to all without restrictions of background. We need more volunteers and movers to join us in this movement, we need more friends from private and corporate (sector) to cooperate with us,” he told a press conference at the Rejuvanisasi Pendidikan Office here.
“Those in need, including those who felt that the education issue is still unfinished could visit the website to apply for help,” he said, adding that those keen to contribute can get further information from the website.
Maszlee said he felt compelled to act after stepping down as education minister on January 3 before the Pakatan Harapan administration collapsed, as he had unfinished business.
The first-time Simpang Renggam MP added that he had promised to use his experience for public interest back then and was trying to live up to it.
“In my experience with the Education Ministry, there are just too many issues that need resolving.
“Some are related to infrastructure. For example, classrooms, teacher’s rooms, or toilets at schools that need to be repaired. Or teachers that need teaching aids and other necessities.
“There are many people out there who want to offer help but they either lack the knowledge to do so, or are restricted by bureaucracy.
“In the end, the assistance does not truly end up in the hands of those who really need them. So this is where #UntukMalaysia comes in,” he said.
A former academic, Maszlee said the movement’s priority right now is to provide tertiary education students with computers so they can continue classes online.
The independent lawmaker yesterday highlighted that 40 per cent of students nationwide do not have gadgets or internet access at home that will enable them to continue their learning under the latest conditional movement control order that has been imposed in all but four state: Perlis, Pahang, Kelantan and Sarawak.
Maszlee said it was paramount that his successor Radzi Jidin address the matter to ensure that students, especially those in low-income families, do not fall behind in their studies now that the coronavirus has delayed the start of the new schooling year to January 20, 2021.