Teresa Kok: RM4 million to print book for schoolchildren is ‘ridiculous’

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The government should audit the printing of a ‘Mari Kenali Sawit (Let’s Get to Know Palm Oil)’ book for schoolchildren.

Teresa Kok (Pakatan Harapan-Seputeh), at a press conference in Parliament today, described the cost – close to RM4 million – involved in printing the book as “ridiculous”.

The book, meant for primary and secondary schools, was a project under the Malaysian Palm Oil Council when Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin was the plantation industries and commodities minister in the last administration.

Kok said that based on a written reply from the Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Fadhillah Yusof, 210,060 books were printed for primary schools, while 62,475 books had been printed for secondary schools.

These books would be distributed to 144 district education offices in all states.

Based on what she knew, Kok said the printing cost of a book that thin would cost less than RM3.

The book was printed at the cost of RM13.30 for primary schools and RM19.30 for secondary schools.

“How did the cost come up to this price? I’ve checked printing prices with publishing companies in Kuala Lumpur. A book like this would cost less than RM3.

“While I agree to spread more information about the benefits of palm oil to school children, how can it be at this price?

“I ask the minister (Fadhillah) to investigate, and maybe the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission can step in. Is this price justifiable?” she questioned.

Last year, Zuraida had said about 300,000 copies of the Mari Kenali Sawit book would be distributed in selected government and private schools nationwide to expose students to palm oil.

She said the book had detailed facts about palm oil and its importance to the socio-economic development and income of the country. – NST