Dong Zong president Tan Tai Kim said the Finance Ministry has approved allocations totalling RM15 million for 63 Chinese independent schools nationwide.
This was confirmed by Deputy Education Minister Mah Hang Soon.
Tan told Malaysiakini that the private Chinese schools have recently started to receive funding from the government.
“On Sept 23, the Finance Ministry informed that RM15 million of allocation would be provided for 63 Chinese independent schools,” said Tan.
He described the allocation as timely as the non-profit schools were suffering from financial uncertainties due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He also expressed gratitude to MCA president Wee Ka Siong and Mah, who is also MCA deputy president, for their help in fighting for the allocation.
Wee is the transport minister under the current administration headed by Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
Tan said Wee wrote to the Finance Ministry to apply for special funding for Chinese independent schools on Jan 29, 2021.
“On April 19, the Finance Ministry replied to Wee to inform that the special funding had been approved.
“On Sept 15, Wee and Mah held a meeting with Dong Zong to inform us that the funding would be transferred to the schools shortly,” Tan said.
25pct have not paid tuition
Tan added that Dong Zong had submitted a memorandum to the Education Ministry and Finance Ministry, explaining the financial situation and students’ difficulties during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Over the past year, Chinese independent schools have been hit hard by the pandemic. Some of the parents lost their jobs and more than 25 percent of the students have not yet paid their tuition fees.
“The schools were forced to do fundraising to help those students as well as for development, some even used their reserved funds to help the affected students.
Therefore, Tan hoped the government will continue to allocate funds for Chinese independent schools in Budget 2022, which will be tabled in Parliament in November.
On a separate note, DAP deputy secretary-general Nga Kor Ming said it was DAP and Pakatan Harapan that fought for the allocation for the Chinese independent schools.
In a statement issued yesterday, Nga said DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and Harapan had tried very hard to engage the government for the allocation to be restored.
“After much effort, the Finance Ministry has finally approved the allocation. The allocation of RM15 million will be disbursed soon,” the Teluk Intan MP said.
He added that Harapan will continue to convince the government to include the other funds for local Chinese primary and secondary schools and an RM6 million allocation for private colleges in the coming Budget 2022.
Allocation axed by Perikatan Nasional
When contacted, the Finance Minister’s Office asked Malaysiakini to seek clarification from Wee; while Lim’s office refused to comment.
Malaysiakini is currently awaiting a response from Wee.
Malaysiakini had also sighted an official letter from the Finance Ministry to a Chinese independent school, which stated that the ministry had approved the funds for the school.
Last year, the then Perikatan Nasional government axed funding for Chinese independent schools and three private colleges, which are the Southern University College, New Era University College and Han Chiang University College of Communication.
Under the Pakatan Harapan administration, the federal government allocated RM12 million for Chinese independent schools in Budget 2019 for the first time, and the figures went up to RM15 million in 2020. The three private university colleges also received RM2 million each for the two consecutive years.