KUALA LUMPUR, May 14: DAP leader Lim Kit Siang said the RM15 million given by prime minister Najib Razak to Chinese schools in Sibu was hardly enough, especially when compared to RM77 million paid to secure a meeting with US president Barack Obama and the writing-off of RM320 billion-worth of oil to Brunei recently.
Najib was in Sibu on Wednesday to campaign for the Barisan Nasional in the by-election this Sunday. At a gathering of some 1,000 Chinese educationists and school teachers, he presented financial allocations of RM15 million for 65 Chinese primary schools and five independent Chinese secondary schools in Sibu.
"This means that the five independent Chinese secondary schools gets RM1 million each while the 65 Chinese primary schools will get RM153,846 each.
"The people of Sibu are thankful for Najib’s RM15 million for Chinese schools in Sibu but the Prime Minister should be reminded that it should be at least RM30 million if not RM150 million cheques," said Lim.
Lim reminded that funding from the government to all schools was a citizens’ right, "not a gift from the government, as the government funds are derived from the people’s taxes."
Saying government funding for schools to institutionalized rather than personalized and timed for by-elections, he called on Najib to give an undertaking that the RM15 million allocation will be channelled anually.
He however said the figure should be higher, as Chinese schools in Sibu had contributed to the nation by producing highly-qualified human resources, "many of whom are forced to leave Sibu and even go overseas to find a living".
"What the Federal Government should allocate annually should be in the region of RM1 million for each Chinese primary school and RM2 million for each independent Chinese secondary school – which will work out to RM65 million for Sibu’s Chinese primary schools and RM10 million for the five Sibu independent Chinese secondary schools, i.e. RM75 million. For two years of Najib’s premiership, this will work out to RM150 million," said Lim.