Ex-deputy education minister questions rationale in reopening schools next week, notes Sarawak’s refusal despite better Covid-19 situation than Klang Valley

Danial Dzulkifly
·2-min read
Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching noted that the Sarawak State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) has chosen to postpone reopening schools by two weeks even though its Covid-19 status was better than heavily-populated states in the peninsula.. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana
Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching noted that the Sarawak State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) has chosen to postpone reopening schools by two weeks even though its Covid-19 status was better than heavily-populated states in the peninsula.. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28 — The Education Ministry must explain how it concluded that schools could safely reopen nationwide from tomorrow — even in Covid-19 red zones — when Sarawak has opted to delay this, said Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching.

The former deputy minister of education noted that the Sarawak State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) has chosen to postpone reopening schools by two weeks even though its Covid-19 status was better than heavily-populated states in the peninsula.

“Sarawak is currently under CMCO (conditional movement control order), however Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Johor and Penang are still under MCO. Aren’t these factors all indicators that the Covid-19 situation in Selangor, Johor, etc. are also very critical?” Teo said in a statement.

“So, what are the factors being used to decide that schools in Sarawak red zones stay closed until March 14, while the schools in other states’ red zones can re-open?

“What are the measuring indicators employed to arrive at a scientific and logical conclusion that it is indeed safe to re-open schools?

“The Ministry of Education should convince all Malaysians that their decisions are made professionally backed by proof and proper analysis and they have given equal consideration for the kids in red zones outside Sarawak.”

On February 26, SDMC decided that schools in Kuching, Samarahan, Julau, Meradong, Sibu, Kapit, Bintulu, Subis and Miri will remain closed until March 14 due to their Covid-19 situation.

SDMC disclosed that the decision was made on the advice of the Sarawak Health Department and following a discussion with the Education Ministry.

Yesterday, Sarawak United Association of Chinese Primary School Boards of Management president Jonathan Chai also urged the federal government to postpone school reopening to mid-May when the pandemic situation in the country is under control or the majority of the population is vaccinated against the virus.

On February 19, Senior Education Minister Datuk Mohd Radzi Md Jidin announced that Malaysian students will be returning to schools beginning March 1 for preschools and those in Standards 1 and 2, while Standards 3 to 6 will do so on March 8.

As for secondary schools categorised under Group A, which consists of Johor, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu, they will commence on April 4, Radzi added. All remaining states, categorised under Group B, will begin on April 5.

Private schools are also expected to follow the same dates while international schools are also scheduled to start from March 8 onwards.

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