KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 — Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid voiced his scepticism today about Unicef’s recent report on malnourishment afflicting poor urban children in the capital.
“I don’t know how the Unicef report was published and the comparison to Ghana. We can see ourselves that our students do have food when compared to Ghana. We give all our students food. We have our own study and no school reported hungry children.
“There’s no cases of reports lodged by teachers complaining that their students are not eating at schools,” he told the Dewan Rakyat in response to a question from Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar.
The PKR lawmaker asked why nutritionally children of the urban poor in Kuala Lumpur were said to worse off than their peers in Ghana.
The study by the United Nations agency titled “Children Without: A study of urban child poverty and deprivation in low-cost flats in Kuala Lumpur” found almost all children, or 99.7 per cent staying in the city’s low-cost flats lived in relative poverty, while 7 per cent lived in absolute poverty.
The percentage of those suffering from problems linked to malnutrition was said to be alarming.
Mahdzir who quoted 2018 figures said that out of two million students in national schools, around 458,000 are recipients of the 1Malaysia Supplementary Food Programme (RMT).
“Overall, in 2018, there are 458,000 out of two million students in national schools in rural and urban areas are RMT recipients. And if we look at these urban areas, these are our hot spots,” said Mahdzir.