Media statement by MP for Kulai, Teo Nie Ching on 8 October 2021:
Only 6 out of 527 SJKT received laptops from the government, not only interest of the Indian community is arbitrarily neglected, but also a great disservice to the concept of Keluarga Malaysia
There is a clear mark of discrimination in the distribution of laptops to schools as according to the answer provided by the Ministry of Education, only 6 out of 527 Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil (Tamil Vernacular schools) received laptops from the government.
I will classify this as a vast injustice to the Indian community and such discriminatory distribution of essential devices for educational purposes in times of a pandemic should never happen!
Our education system is based on the premise that everyone should have meaningful access to education and no child should be left behind. Yet, Ismail Sabri’s government is not shy of neglecting this basic principle of education and governance.
The current government’s acts and principles do not reflect the spirit of Keluarga Malaysia as claimed by the Prime Minister.
The interest and need of SJKT has been severely neglected and is a far cry from the ideal concept of fairness that a family would have.
Out of the delayed distribution of 150,000 laptops, a mere 406 laptops were distributed to Tamil Vernacular schools (SJKT). This forms a mere 0.27% of the total number of laptops distributed nationwide. The number of students studying in SJKT is about 80,500 students. Total number of student population in all streams of schools is 4.7million students nationwide. This means 1.7% of students in the system are from SJKT but they only received 0.27% of the laptops distributed.
It is a well-known fact that the Indian community is economically disadvantaged and a large percentage of B40 Indian students study in SJKT. In fact many Indian families grapple with urban poverty. The manner in which these laptops were distributed is not a tested method in fairness and equity and will not pass the test of equitable distribution of essential aid. The Indian minority segment of society is a segment of society deserving more aid from the government and this is a proven fact from all the statistics the government itself presents.
Tamil vernacular schools that received aid are as follows:
- SJKT Taman Tun Aminah (215)
- SJKT LDG Temiang Rencong (11)
- SJKT LDG Chembong (21)
- SJKT Bharathi (46)
- SJKT Mahatma Gandhi Kalasalai (75)
- SJKT Teluk Merbau (38)
During my tenure as Deputy Minister of Education, I was very determined to make sure SJKT, together with SK, SJKC, SMK, mission schools, religious schools, were all looked after equally. This is because I come from a party that practises the principle of Malaysian Malaysia.
We do not discriminate according to race, especially in educational issues where innocent children are affected.
We do not believe that only an Indian will raise issues affecting the Indians and only a Chinese will raise issues affecting the Chinese. The current discriminative distribution of laptops to SJKT is a great disservice to the concept of Keluarga Malaysia.
I would also like to remind the government that the Perikatan Nasional government had already reduced special maintenance allowance for SJKT to RM28.9 million in 2021 from a standard RM50 million that has been distributed to the Indian community for many years.
This indicates and reflects how the government of the day prioritises education for the Indian community and to me it looks as if the government does not care of the needs of children from the minority community.
I call upon the sitting Education Minister to repair this situation immediately. A true Malaysian will fight for Malay, Chinese and Indians.