KUCHING: The Cabinet has approved a RM1 billion loan to the federal government from the Sarawak state government to resolve the issue of dilapidated schools in the state.
In a Facebook post, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik revealed this decision following a previous agreement between him and Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
This was agreed upon during his visit to the Chief Minister’s Office on Feb 19 to discuss issues that would benefit 436,000 pupils across the state.
The loan was offered last year by Abang Johari due to the urgency and need to repair the schools in question.
A special committee comprising the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Finance and the State Government of Sarawak will be established to ensure clean governance and transparent processes are be implemented.
At the implementation stage, the Sarawak Public Works Department (JKR) will be assigned as the implementing agency.
The Cabinet has also agreed that the project will be closely monitored to ensure that the funds of RM1 billion will be put to use efficiently and would directly benefit students and teachers in the schools concerned.
“I hereby thank the Federal Government and Sarawak Chief Minister, YAB Datuk Patinggi Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari Bin Tun Abang Haji Openg for coming together with me to ensure future access to quality education for Sarawakians,” he said. [...]
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29 — SK Tanah Hitam in the town of Chemor, Perak, was recognised as the primary school with the cleanest public toilet this year with its Touch N Toilet concept that keeps track of students entering the loo through a scan of their identity cards.The high tech concept introduced Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology last year for the male toilets, where students are required to tap their identity cards and have them scanned each time they enter and exit, Utusan Malaysia reported today.SK Tanah Hitam’s principal Halimatus Sadiah Mohd Sharif said a special software could analyse the frequency of students’ visits to the toilets, based on the scanning of their identity cards.“This initiative by the school will indirectly avoid students from playing truant (loitering in the toilet for too long) besides overcoming the problem of vandalism or bullies in an enclosed space such as the toilets,” she was quoted as saying.She said the system could be emulated by other schools as it emphasises on security, cleanliness and cheerfulness in toilets.According to Utusan Malaysia, students are further required to remove their shoes outside the toilet and wear the slippers provided inside.The Malay daily added that the toilets for male students are equipped with faucets with infra-red technology to save water, close-circuit television cameras have been installed outside the toilet where a prayer for entry and exit of toilets is also on display.In a separate report by Sinar Harian, the Touch N Toilet system was implemented following discussions from all teaching staff at the school.Sinar Harian said only two out of nine toilets (four for male students, four for female students, and one for the disabled) are currently using the Touch N Toilet system.Sinar Harian said it sighted video clips in the toilets that provided tutorials on the correct way to wash hands, as well as how to tap in and out of the toilets using the chip-embedded cards.The paper said the award was given to the school last Saturday in conjunction with World Toilet Day celebrations at Stadium Indera Mulia in Ipoh, Perak.World Toilet Day, which the United Nations’ website says is intended to inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis, falls on November 19 every year.It is unclear if the Touch N Toilet concept is a spin on the Touch ‘N Go concept, including cashless systems which among other things involve users tapping their cards to pay for toll and parking.The company Touch ‘N Go was last year reported to be seeking to pilot the use of RFID technology through stickers placed in cars for cashless payment of tolls, replacing the current card-based system of SmartTAG. [...]
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the agency was constantly conducting checks and compiling reports for the government’s action. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
LABUAN, Jan 28 — It is estimated that over 50 per cent of Islamic educational institutions including tahfiz schools and dilapidated government schools nationwide do not comply with fire safety requirements, thus needing improvements.National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) chairman, Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the agency was constantly conducting checks and compiling reports for the government’s action.“We do not have statistics detailing the number of tahfiz schools and dilapidated schools nationwide which do not comply with fire safety requirements, but we assume it could be more than 50 per cent,” he said at a press conference after the closing of a seminar on Occupational Health and Safety Management, here, today.Lee said the condition of some schools was found to be unconducive to safety and health.“NIOSH is doing its corporate social responsibility (CSR) of visiting schools, providing service and creating educational awareness of the importance of occupational safety and health management,” he said.He said non-compliance to safety requirements also happened in many government-sponsored schools in the interiors of Sabah and Sarawak.“The situation in these schools is pathetic, the buildings have been there for more than 30 years there are classrooms which are not in good condition.“We have to depend on the government, of course it is still the government’s responsibility through the Education Ministry to ensure it has sufficient funds for improvements to the schools concerned,” Lee said.He said it was understood that tahfiz schools which were mostly not run by the government had no adequate funds.“There are tahfiz schools run privately by certain religious bodies and state governments. Therefore, budget is always an issue,” he added.Lee called on the private sector and corporate bodies to render financial assistance to tahfiz schools as part of their CSR programme.There are three tahfiz schools in Labuan run privately by individuals and are not fully under the jurisdiction of the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (JAWI). — Bernama [...]
SEATTLE — It’s the last class period of the day. The students lean back on couches and take turns describing the most important day of their lives: the day they became sober.
For Marques Martinez, that date was Nov. 15, 2016. Until then, he had used OxyContin, Xanax and nearly every other drug he could get his hands on, he said. He had been suspended from school for selling drugs. “I knew what I was doing was bad,” he said. “But I didn’t think there was another way.”
Two years ago, Martinez’s parents sent him to an in-patient treatment center and then enrolled him in this unusual high school, Interagency at Queen Anne, or IQA. Martinez, 17, learned about the school from an alumnus and knew it might be his last option. He was skeptical at first, but he knew one thing immediately: “I felt safe here.”
The Seattle public school campus, known as a recovery school, is designed for students learning to lead lives of sobriety while they earn their diplomas. The roughly 20 students attend classes in math, language arts and physical education, and they complete other courses online. They meet regularly with a counselor and attend daily support group meetings based on Alcoholics Anonymous programs.
Recent research shows that recovery schools — also known as sober schools — help keep their students off drugs and in class.
A 2017 study by Vanderbilt University associate professor Andy Finch and other researchers showed that students in recovery schools were significantly more likely than those not in such schools to report being off drugs and alcohol six months after they were first surveyed. And the average reported absences among the 134 recovery school students in the study was lower than the other students.
Recovery schools first appeared in the late 1970s and now about 40 exist nationwide, including in Minnesota, Texas and Massachusetts. More are likely to open as opioid overdoses continue to climb, said Finch, who is co-founder of the Association of Recovery Schools. “There has been a gap in adolescent treatment for many, many years,” he said. “The schools are one of the programs that fill in that gap.”
Finch said about 85% of the recovery schools are public or have some source of public funding, while some are private campuses or part of treatment centers. New sober schools are planned in New York, Delaware and Oregon, Finch said.
Starting any school can be complicated, but recovery schools have extra layers of complexity. They have to recruit their students, impose policies specific to them and fund the services they need.
Advocates and school officials in Delaware had hoped to start a public recovery school this year but couldn’t get the funding they needed, said Don Keister, who helps run Attack Addiction, an advocacy group he co-founded after his son died of a heroin overdose. Keister said a local school district offered to provide the space and the equipment but didn’t have the estimated $2 million needed to cover staff costs.
“There is a real need,” he said. “In Delaware, we don’t have any real help for adolescents.”
Nationally, illicit drug use among middle and high school students is at record lows. Still, nearly 1 in 5 10th-graders reported using an illegal drug in the previous 30 days, according to the annual nationwide Monitoring the Future survey.
Like Martinez, many of the Interagency at Queen Anne students go there straight from treatment programs. They say they encounter less temptation than at traditional high schools. “There, people offer you drugs every day,” said 15-year-old Coltrane Fisher, who regularly used heroin, cocaine and other illegal drugs before coming to the school last March.
The success of recovery high schools is partly due to the fact that the students are among sober peers, as well as teachers and counselors who all support their sobriety.
“Unless these kids get engaged with other young people in recovery, they don’t stand a chance,” said Seth Welch, a recovery support counselor at Interagency Queen Anne. “This becomes their new community.”
Counselor Seth Welch talks to students about how to choose a sponsor. Students at Interagency at Queen Anne sign a sobriety pledge when they enroll and agree to random drug testing.
But the going is not always easy.
Teachers at IQA say they believe the environment has been critical to the students’ success, but it is sometimes a challenge to work there. Some students are way behind in their credits, and they don’t always respond well to authority. “The more we push them, the more they push back,” said one of the teachers, Phyllis Coletta.
Sometimes classwork must be set aside, Coletta said. On a recent school day, one of the newer students was so upset that she spent most of the day crying, clutching a blanket. Coletta hugged her and they took a long walk.
“Mental health and sobriety come first,” Coletta said.
Interagency at Queen Anne, which opened in late 2014, is part of a network of alternative public school campuses called Interagency Academy, which also serves homeless and incarcerated youths.
At first, the campus drew opposition from a group of elementary school parents who feared the students would sell drugs in the neighborhood. But Melinda Leonard, the former vice principal who helped found the school, said those fears have now given way to community support.
“The campus is the most sober school in the school district,” Leonard said.
Students at the school sign a sobriety pledge and agree to random drug testing. They aren’t kicked out for relapsing, but Welch, the support counselor, works to get them back into treatment if they begin actively using again.
Since the school opened, 21 students have graduated. Welch and the teachers help students plan for the future. Martinez, for ex [...]
Ramakrishnan (centre) had criticised the Tamil school’s management board in Johor for inaction and internal squabbling. — Picture by Ben Tan
JOHOR BARU, Jan 7 — A Johor MIC leader today slammed a state executive committee member for calling for the abolishment of Tamil schools’ School Management Board (LPS).Johor MIC information chief Deva Sangaran criticised Johor Consumerism, Human Resources and Unity Committee chairman S. Ramakrishnan for saying that the LPS does not play a role in developing Tamil schools last week.He questioned if Ramakrishnan met and talked to the respective LPS leaders and members before accusing them of doing nothing.“The former and current LPS leaders have delivered money in the millions and at the same time contributed their priceless time and ideas for the progression of Tamil schools,” said Deva in a statement today.The Indian community leader urged the Pakatan Harapan (PH) leadership to advise Ramakrishnan, who represents the Johor government, to stop embarrassing his party with regards to the Tamil school issue in the state.Deva also claimed that Ramakrishnan’s understanding of Tamil schools or its issues was shallow and he lacked the practical understanding of how the schools operated.“He probably has yet to walk through the gates of all the 70-odd Tamil schools in Johor,” said Deva.He added that Ramakrishnan was known for his baseless accusations.“He paints the image that the previous BN government had not contributed beneficially towards the betterment of the Indian community, especially in regards to education,” claimed Deva, adding that Ramakrishnan’s approach to Tamil school issues was doing more harm than good.Deva a former state MIC Youth chief, said every Tamil school standing in Malaysia today was the result of the “flesh and blood” of MIC leaders and efforts of the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government.“My advice to him is to please stop complaining about the past administration and speed-up new ideas and actions for uplifting the Indian Community,” he said.On Saturday, it was reported that Ramakrishnan had criticised the Tamil school’s LPS in Johor for inaction.He alleged that 50 of the 79 Tamil school’s LPS were acting on their own without informing the schools, in addition to politicking and internal squabbling among members. [...]
JOHOR BARU: A total of 580,000 pupils in Johor started their school session yesterday at 1,187 schools. [...]
UAE ambassador to Malaysia Khalid Granim Mohamad Al-Ghaith (left) and Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar (2nd left) hand out school bags and uniforms to Mohd Yasin Abdul Hakim (2nd right) and Mohd Altaf Azmel Husin (right).
AMPANG, Dec 22 — The Khalifa Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation, through the United Arab Emirates (UAE) embassy here, donated today a total of RM250,000 in support of humanitarian aid programme for four Rohingya schools.A total of 250 pupils from four schools — Madrasah Abu Bakar Sidik in Pandan Indah, Madrasah Darul Quran from Kampung Desa Pahlawan, Madrasah Kg Pandan and Ethnic Rohingya Committee of Arakan Malaysia in Seri Kembangan — each received a school bag, two sets of school uniforms, a pair of shoes and socks, a T-shirt and other items.A total of RM100,000 was contributed to prepare the Rohingya students to attend school next year.They received the school bags from former Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Special Envoy to Myanmar Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar and UAE ambassador to Malaysia Khalid Granim Mohammad Al-Ghaith at SK Agama Kg Melayu here.Another RM150,000 will be allocated for the renovation, electrical equipment and appliances for the schools.Syed Hamid, in his speech, praised the UAE Embassy for the donation and said he would continue to speak on Rohingya issues.Meanwhile, Khalid Granim said the donation is a continuation of the humanitarian assistance for Rohingya refugees in Malaysia.UAE has been helping the Rohingya refugees in Malaysia since 2015 and the Khalifa Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation has donated a total of US$1 million (RM4.18 million) so far, with the donation distributed in four phases.“This round, we decide to focus on education and we will continue to provide assistance to Rohingya schools in 2019,” said Khalid Granim.UAE provided medical equipment, medicine and vehicles in a joint venture with Malaysia for Rohingya in Cox Bazar refugee camp in Bangladesh.For the fifth consecutive year, UAE ranks first as the largest international donor of Official Development Aid, relative to its national income, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).Shawah Hamid, who runs Madrasah Kg Pandan, said 35 Rohingya children aged four to 14 are taught by four teachers in the school free of charge.The school relies on donations from well-wishers to teach Rohingya children. [...]
Minister in Prime Minister’s Department, Fuziah Salleh, said tahfiz schools which have registered with a religious office should get the prior approval of the PBT before they could operate. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7— Local Authorities (PBTs) are urged to take action against tahfiz school premises which have not been registered with any state Islamic religious office.Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Fuziah Salleh said tahfiz schools which have registered with a religious office should get the prior approval of the PBT before they could operate.“The religious department are not authorised to shut down the tahfiz schools because this is not the rule of law. However since the premises need to be registered with the PBT, they (PBTs) have the power to shut down the premises if they are not registered.“So there must be cooperation between the agencies and Islamic religious departments (state) to ensure safety of the tahfiz schools,” she told the Dewan Rakyat sitting here yesterday.She said this in reply to Ahmad Fahmi Mohamed Fadzil (PH-Lembah Pantai) who wanted to know what steps were taken to ensure that all tahfiz maahad institutions throughout the country were registered and controlled in terms of building safety and student population.Fuziah added that as at October, 815 registered private tahfiz schools have been recorded and the ministry has no record of unregistered tahfiz schools. — Bernama [...]
Sarawak Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin (left) and Education Minister Maszlee Malik during a meeting in Kuching September 7, 2018. — Bernama pic
KUCHING, Dec 6 — The Education Ministry will only give consent to the state government to connect 113 rural primary schools to the main electricity grid after the existing contract between the ministry and a diesel contractor has been resolved, a Sarawak minister said today.State Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Datuk Seri Michael Manyin said he has received a letter from Education Minister Maszlee Malik explaining the reason for not allowing the state government to connect the schools to the electricity grid for now.“In his letter dated November 29, the federal minister explained that the state’s proposal could only be implemented after issues related to the existing contract have been resolved,” he said, referring to a contract awarded by the previous federal government to a company to supply diesel for generator sets to the schools.He said officials from his ministry will meet with their federal counterparts to work on the details of connecting the schools to the electricity grid once the aforementioned issues have been resolved.Manyin said the state government has proposed an allocation of RM59 million to connect the 113 schools to the power grid and 33 others to the main water pipe.He said although education is the responsibility of the federal government, the state government has offered to implement these projects to safeguard the well-being and welfare of the students and teachers.He denied claims by the Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders, in particular Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii, that the issue of education, dilapidated schools and lack of amenities had been politicised.Manyin said since last year, he has gone public with the condition of schools in Sarawak as well as the plight of students and appealed to the previous federal government for larger allocations to solve the problems.“I have made it very clear that the main factor contributing to these problems is the lack of funding allocation from the previous government,” he said, adding that the physical needs of the schools have not received due consideration and unless special allocations are made, the situation will only worsen.He said due to his constant and persistent appeals, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced a RM500 million allocation for this year and another RM500 million for next year to fix 1,020 dilapidated schools in the state.He added 116 schools have been upgraded at a cost RM419 million in 2018, and said he hoped that the PH federal government will make available the RM500 million for 2019.He asked PH MPs from Sarawak, who are mostly from urban constituencies, to go to rural areas to see the school conditions for themselves.“We cannot understand the problem on the ground if we remain as armchair politicians,” he said, pointing out Maszlee himself has acknowledged the severity of the problems faced by the rural schools. [...]
Maszlee said the government had always ensured the provision of adequate educational infrastructure and facilities to meet the needs of students in government schools. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 27 ― The Education Ministry has assured that the enrolment of stateless children in government schools would not affect the local children’s educational opportunities and access to these schools’ facilities.Its minister, Dr Maszlee Malik said the government had always ensured the provision of adequate educational infrastructure and facilities to meet the needs of students in government schools, including those in the interior areas of Sabah and Sarawak.“I am aware of the concern voiced by the people over this (government) initiative but I wish to clarify that they (stateless children) do not possess (identity) documents but are the children of Malaysian citizens or one of their parents is a Malaysian,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat today.Maszlee was replying to a question from Ma’mun Sulaiman (Warisan-Kalabakan) on whether the government’s move of allowing stateless children to enrol in schools beginning 2019 would affect local students’ access to the school facilities and their learning process, particularly in Sabah.“The Education Ministry accepts children who have no important documents like the birth certificate or identity card required to enrol in national schools, on the condition that the father or mother submit a confirmation letter from the village head that the child is his/hers,” he said.Maszlee said the parents or guardians of such children should also make a serious effort to obtain the necessary identity documents before going to the Education Department to sort out their enrolment in school.He said his ministry was also holding engagement sessions with various government agencies including the National Registration Department, Immigration Department and the National Security Council for their feedback on matters pertaining to the initiative.He added that the ministry would also analyse the information and data obtained through the engagement sessions as a strong basis and justification for resolving the issue of access to education for stateless children without adversely affecting the needs of young Malaysian citizens studying at government and government-aided schools. ― Bernama [...]
Education Minister Maszlee Malik’s instructions for Opposition lawmakers to obtain permission from state education directors before they can enter schools has divided opinion among his peers.
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — Several Pakatan Harapan (PH) politicians have voiced their disagreement with Education Minister Maszlee Malik’s instructions for Opposition lawmakers to obtain permission from state education directors before they can enter schools.Many said the new administration must be better than their predecessor Barisan Nasional (BN), and should not repeat the mistakes of the past, especially since PH lawmakers were the ones at the receiving end prior to the change of government.Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil told Malay Mail there should not be any kind of restriction on elected representatives from visiting schools in their constituencies.“How are we supposed to talk about schools if we can’t see the schools? I think it’s punitive to bar elected representatives from entering schools, regardless if they are from PH or BN,” he said.“I think in New Malaysia, we have a great opportunity to do things the right way, but it requires political will. I hope [Maszlee] will reconsider the status quo and we need to have the political fortitude to do what is morally right.“It should not be tit for tat,” said Fahmi, also referring to the instructions from Sarawak’s Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah to ban the state’s community leaders from attending PH’s official functions.The PKR MP pointed out that this was something that Umno had done to PH representatives in the past and that PH should not be doing the same.He added that in Lembah Pantai, he allowed anyone to use any of the civic halls and government facilities as long as no defamatory or seditious statements are issued, saying that any elected representative should be welcomed in government facilities.His party colleague Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad also disagreed in a press statement, pointing out that MPs and assemblymen are often invited to schools, and that these are important places in the civic life of Malaysia.“Barring Opposition figures from schools and other institutions of learning was one of the worst abuses under the previous Barisan Nasional government. Many Pakatan Harapan legislators — myself included — fell victim to it.“Despite serving as Selangor state exco for education from 2014 to 2018, I was constantly barred from visiting schools there. I was even prevented from speaking at my alma mater, KYUEM, allegedly due to political pressure on the school authorities,” he said, using the initials for Kolej Yayasan UEM.“On another occasion, I was forced to pretend to be a student, including riding into campus on a motorbike, in order to fulfil an invitation at University of Malaya. Now that Pakatan Harapan is in power federally, it must continue to take the moral high ground,” said Nik Nazmi.He added that there is no reason for the new government to adopt the “repressive practices and pettiness” of the previous administration.The Setiawangsa MP reminded Maszlee that he should trust all legislators regardless of their political affiliation to behave responsibly when carrying out public engagement and action can be taken if lawmakers are found to abuse the platforms by inciting racial or religious hatred or pushing a partisan agenda.Their DAP counterpart Kasthuri Patto agreed that under New Malaysia, the government should not be practising politics of hatred and vengeance.“Even in Penang, the chief minister’s photo wasn’t even allowed to be hung in schools, just because we were the federal Opposition party but the ruling government in Penang,” she said, referring to the BN administration era.“New Malaysia means new politics. We cannot hold down this sort of vengeful politics. Even though, sometimes, the public wants us to play to the gallery, which is politics of hatred and revenge, but six months into the new government we should show BN how it is done.”She hoped that the minister will reconsider and echoed Nik Nazmi’s perspective that if any MPs or assemblymen have violated the guidelines, action should be taken against them on a case-by-case basis.Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s (PPBM) strategic director Datuk Rais Hussin, on the other hand, believed that Maszlee should have adopted a blanket policy where no politicians can enter schools unless it is for formal occasions where no political agenda can be pursued.He pointed out that a school should be a centre of education and learning which is untainted by politics.“I think my view is schools should be left alone from politics whether it is from the Opposition or government and let it be a centre for education excellence. The students there are very young, they are still learning what knowledge is supposed to be,” he said.“Schools should not be intoxicated by politics. It should be a place of knowledge. Universities are different as the students can already form their own opinions. The only exception should be school days.“These are just a matter of formality where the lawmakers are there to hand out school accolades or awards,” said Rais. [...]
Education Minister Maszlee Malik says that Opposition lawmakers must obtain permission from their respective state Education directors before they can enter school grounds. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 ― A PAS lawmaker from Kedah accused the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government of continuing the discriminatory practices of the previous administration by barring Opposition representatives from schools.Jerai MP Sabri Azit said he had sought clarification from Education Minister Maszlee Malik after being told by the PH parliamentary whip that all lawmakers would be allowed access to any government facility, including schools, regardless of their political affiliation.“Actually, I voiced my concern because of a statement by Datuk Johari Abdul who told me I could enter any government premises including schools because the concept of New Malaysia is different from the previous government,” he said.Malay Mail is trying to contact Johari who is also Sungai Petani MP for verification.“However, I was not allowed to enter a school in my constituency last month and had to change the location of a programme organised by the district Education Office because I am an Opposition MP. I was confused and I had to ask the question in Parliament.“Through his answer, the public has now been informed that we are still using circulars from BN's time,” Sabri, a first-time MP said.Sabri was not in the Dewan Rakyat last Monday when the minister replied his question while winding up his speech on Budget 2019.Maszlee said then that Opposition lawmakers must obtain permission from their respective state Education directors before they can enter school grounds.Sabri said the minister’s reply showed no change in education policies between the current administration and the former ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, adding that this would perpetuate the culture of fear that is already deeply ingrained among the civil service.“The teachers are still shackled by fear when they want to invite their own elected representatives.“By implementing discriminatory practices, the public is still haunted with the bodek culture and a narrow mindset,” Sabri said. [...]
Opposition politicians said Maszlee’s ruling hinders lawmakers from serving their respective constituencies efficiently. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — Several Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders have chided Education Minister Maszlee Malik today for instituting the same restrictions on politicians entering schools that the coalition itself had implemented when it was in power.But Maszlee also received flak from polls watchdog Bersih 2.0 that demanded he revoke his “partisan” instruction, and instead implement a blanket policy barring all politicians from entering schools regardless of affiliation.Umno’s Kepala Batas MP Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican said Maszlee’s ruling will prevent lawmakers from serving their respective constituencies efficiently.“Schools have always been my top priority in my constituency. Voters expect me to serve and assist them in various issues, such as infrastructure development, budget provisions for school programmes, extracurricular activities and so on.“Denying or restricting MPs’ access to schools is the equivalent of taking away from voters their right to MPs’ services. This is truly not what the people would expect of the new administration,” said the Umno supreme council member.Meanwhile, his fellow council member Datuk Lokman Noor Adam accused the Pakatan Harapan (PH) leadership of allegedly having an “excellent record in denying the rights of others”.He pointed out the difficulties encountered by Selangor Umno and BN politicians when renting public amenities, including assembly halls and stadiums.MCA vice-president Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker also lambasted Maszlee, saying the decision goes against PH’s advocacy of a two-party system, which allows the public the opportunity to hear both sides of the argument, while at the same time, allowing all political parties equal access to public spaces.“If we want to talk about what he is doing, it is authoritarianism — a dominance of the ruling party instead of encouraging differing opinions and dissent,” said Ti.“The people elected the government with a very high expectation of a more level playing field, where the spirit of a two-party system allows everyone equal and fair access to the Opposition and the government.“Instead, it is no longer the level playing field that they promised,” the newly elected MCA vice-president said.Bersih 2.0’s Steering Committee had in a press statement said that it is not questioning the Education Ministry on its policies, but rather the partisan implementation of policies.“Minister Maszlee is reminded that discriminating against democratically-elected Opposition MPs is simply disrespecting the will of the voters in their constituencies,” it said.“In a multi-party democracy, voters have the right to choose from various contending parties and they should not be deprived of the service of their representatives if they turn out to be on the Opposition bench after the election.“A frequent complaint of Opposition representatives during BN’s rule was the fact that they were not allowed to enter public schools while BN representatives were. Is the new PH government doing to the Opposition what they themselves objected to when they were in Opposition?” it asked.Furthermore, the group pointed out that it was normal for schools to invite local MPs to grace their events and concerns of political messages being disseminated should be addressed via party-blind guidelines and standard operating procedures on violations for all visiting politicians. [...]
Abang Johari (fourth left) witnesses the handing over of a mock key by Yek (fourth right) to Abang Mat Ali (third left) while (from right) Chan, Dr Sim, Lee, Juma’ani, Awang Tengah and Dr Annuar look on.
KUCHING: Developers are encouraged to include green area and schools in their new township development.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said under the private sector-government initiative, there must be a green area within the new township for recreational activities and for the community to work together.
Aside from that, he said the new township must have facilities for schools so that the town and city do not have any congested area.
“We have got this private sector-government initiative and I hope more developers will build new township that must include these two aspects – green area and school – in the their development,” he said at the handing of keys of SJK (C) Stampin’s new building from San Chin-BBC JV Sdn Bhd to the Sarawak Education Department here today.
Abang Johari thanked San Chin-BBC JV Sdn Bhd for their passion and concern to provide good educational facility to the children.
He said when there was a proposal to develop the area behind the school’s previous location, the government had negotiated that the developer swapped land and build a new building for the school.
The developer, he said, had accepted the proposal and now they have a self-contained township, having the shops, the houses the condominium, the recreational facility as well as a new school building.
“This is an example of private sector-government initiative to ensure our children will have a good place to obtain education.
“You have this hall, you have a good environment and I believe the children can concentrate in their studies because of the environment that is conducive,” he said.
The Chief Minister also approved the request list of the school parents-teachers association (PTA) amounting to RM185,000.
He said the Sarawak government had stressed on the importance of education as a way forward in preparing Sarawakians to be competitive both in the domestic and global job and business market.
“Today, many Malay, Iban, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu parents are sending their children to the Chinese medium schools because they want their children to learn mandarin.
“Now, China and the United States of America (USA) are quarreling because both are very strong.
“So we must work with the Chinese and we must work with the Americans also; and therefore we must also know the two languages – Mandarin and English.
“That is why a lot our people are sending their children to the Chinese schools including my family,” he said.
The Chief Minister’s wife Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, Assistant Minister of Education and Technological Research Dr Annuar Rapaee, Mayor of Kuching South City Dato James Chan, Sarawak Education Department deputy director Abang Mat Ali Abang Masagus, chairman of San Chin-BBC JV Sdn Bhd Datuk Barry Yek and San Chin-BBC JV Sdn Bhd Lee Chin Tech were also present. [...]
Education Minister Maszlee Malik speaks to reporters at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur November 2, 2018. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
JOHOR BAHRU, Nov 17 — The Education Ministry will allow non-governmental organisations (NGO) to conduct more frequent drug awareness campaigns in schools to combat drug abuse among students.Minister Maszlee Malik also encouraged the private sector and political parties to conduct such campaigns.“Drug addiction among students must not be taken lightly and that’s why I support any efforts to fight drug abuse,” he told a press conference after launching the Nong Chik Community Centre here today.Maszlee said the private sector and political parties could also help in the efforts by giving contributions and participating in anti-drug activities.“Ideologies aside, all parties should be more involved in helping the community, especially the young generation because it is about their future,” he said.He added that schools should also be provided with enough knowledge to tackle drug abuse cases, including how to conduct urine test on students and giving more emphasis in the education system for students to stay away from drugs. — Bernama [...]
Perak State executive council Youth, Sports and Human Development Howard Lee speaks to reporters at the Kinta Riverfront Hotel in Ipoh November 2, 2018. ― Picture by Farhan Najib
IPOH, Nov 2 ― The Perak government has come up with a new distribution system that aims for equal distribution of a RM3 million fund to all 261 vernacular and mission schools within the state.State executive council Youth, Sports and Human Development Howard Lee representing the state Education, Technology, Science and Environment committee chairman Abdul Aziz Bari, said the fund will be divided based on the number of students and classrooms in the school.“Half of the aid will be divided based on the number of the students and the balance will be divide based on the number of classrooms. So each school will receive a fair amount of fund.“Some schools will get around RM50,000 and some schools will get RM2,000, but the aid is divided in a fair manner,” he told reporters after handing over the fund cheque to the respective parliamentarians and assemblymen at Kinta Riverfront Hotel here. He said the system will benefit 86,666 students from 5,082 classrooms from Sekolah Rendah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina (SRJKC), Sekolah Rendah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil (SRJKT) and mission schools.“We choose to have this method in order to have solidarity with all schools, including the ones which has less than 100 students, as previously this kind of schools did not get the aid they deserved,” Lee added.He said the new distribution system was introduced after discussing with several education officers, schools and headmasters on their needs for the schools. [...]