Current Affairs

Mary Yap must be serious to tackle bureaucracy

by Lau Weng San

Deputy Education Minister, Datuk Mary Yap Kain Ching should take the plight of Chinese Conforming School seriously as these schools, according to the 2014 budget which was tabled by the Federal Government in Dewan Rakyat recently, receive no development funds at all.

Education Ministry has always received the highest allocation from the Federal budget. For 2014, about 20% of the total budget, ie RM54.6 billion, will be allocated for Education Ministry.

Unfortunately, all 81 Chinese Conforming Schools or SMJKs will not receive a single sen of development fund in 2014. Other than that, allocation for 1291 Chinese primary schools or SJKCs is also slashed from RM10 million to RM5 million only.

SMJK was a result of Chinese secondary schools converted to national type secondary schools in 1960s. During that time, government had committed to give one third of education funds to these schools after conversion and one third of the class will be used to teach Mandarin. As such, it is the duty of the Federal Government to allocate funds to SMJKs.

Selangor has 109 SJKCs, four Independent Chinese Secondary Schools (Klang Chung Hua High School, Guang Hua High School, Hin Hua High School, and Bing Hua High School) and 5 SMJKs (Klang Kwang Hua, Chung Hua, Sekinchan Yoke Kuan, Petaling Jaya Catholic School and Kajang Yu Hua).

Selangor State Pakatan Rakyat Government currently allocated RM2 million to four Independent Chinese High Schools and RM4 million to 109 SJKCs in Selangor annually.

Understand the fact that SMJKs have problems raising funds on their own (Chinese community generally does not recognize SMJK as part of Chinese education, complicated with the fact that SMJKs do not have large financial supports from the government due to complicated education bureaucracy), I had advised the Selangor State Government in 2012 when debating the 2013 State Government Budget to provide additional allocation to the only five SMJKs in Selangor.

Selangor State Pakatan Rakyat also in its GE13 manifesto pledge additional RM2 million to other national schools which include SMJKs, English Schools which were converted into national schools and national schools.

If a state government like Selangor can allocate funds for SJKCs, why can’t the Federal Government who govern an annual budget of more than RM 200 billion gives something to these 81 SMJKs nationwide?

Mary Yap is biased towards the government when she said that “the Federal Government did not neglect SMJK as the Federal Government still allocation administration funds for these schools as well”.

What is in question is not administration fund but development fund for SMJKs. Government needs development funds for building new schools, implementation of new projects/plans, purchasing new machine for national defense and so on and only this fund can bring substantial benefits for our citizens.

Therefore, the Federal Government should at least maintain its RM1 million allocation to 1291 SJKCs nationwide and provide another RM50 million to 81 SMJKs nationwide.

Personally, I have zero interest to see the ‘fierce performance’ of Mary Yap towards any MP who questioned her the other day but if she believes that she is a “serious and professional educator”, then she should at least show some seriousness to tackle government bureaucracies.

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