Two DAP representatives slammed Education Minister Maszlee Malik for not giving monetary allocations to Chinese independent high schools (SMPC), saying that the move amounted to upholding BN’s old mindset.
This comes after Maszlee, in a parliamentary written reply to Wee Ka Siong (BN-Ayer Hitam), said that since the schools did not belong to the national education system, they would not receive the ministry’s allocations.
“The Education Ministry did not prepare any allocation for SMPC schools and students as SMPCs are not under any educational institution of the national education system,” he said in his reply.
Ipoh Timor MP Wong Kah Woh reminded Maszlee that Pakatan Harapan government supports the SMPC and recognises the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC), the pre-university qualification issued by these schools.
“The minister’s answer should reflect the readiness to implement new policies and not solely rely on BN-style standard answers…
“Such an answer is regretted as it is a return to the BN era. The people, who gave the mandate to Harapan in the last general election, do not want it,” the DAP Socialist Youth chief said in a statement.
Wong said while the SMPCs are not part of the national education system, the schools play a role in educating students and this must be recognised.
He said Perak government under then Pakatan Rakyat in 2008 gave land totalling 1,000 hectares to nine SMPCs in order for the schools’ boards of directors to generate income for the schools’ operational costs, thus removing their dependence on government funding.
“At the same time, 1,000 hectares were also given to the Sekolah Agama Rakyat, which the then BN government had little concern for.”
Subsequently, Wong said the practice was followed by the Sarawak government by handing out 2,000 hectares for SMPCs in the state while the Penang and Selangor governments gave annual allocations to SMPCs.
“Clearly, the written reply given by education minister is merely repeating the ministry’s stance since the BN era and fails to reflect the reformation agenda. The government should not deny financial assistance (to these schools) because SMPC is not recognised as part of the national education system.
He said he and other backbenchers are willing to help Maszlee in resolving the issue.
Agreeing with Wong, Bercham assemblyperson Ong Boon Piow criticised Maszlee whom he said only knew how to listen to “certain influential parents” to change the colour of school shoes and cancel paid computer classes, and did not know how to take care of Chinese educationalists.
In a statement, Ong said that since many Malay and Indian parents sent their kids into SMPCs and the UEC was widely recognised at an international level, do such parents matter less than “certain influential parents”?
“The education minister is from Harapan but his answer is damaging and does not respect Harapan’s allies. (This move) must be criticised within Harapan.”
He urged Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to review whether Maszlee is suitable to continue as education minister. – Malaysiakini