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Where are 150,000 laptops announced under Budget 2021? - Chan

Adreena (center) with her mother (left) received a secondhand laptop from Chan.

22 Aug 2021

KOTA KINABALU: Democratic Action Party (DAP) Member of Parliament for Kota Kinabalu Chan Foong Hin in a statement today demanded the Perikatan Nasional (PN) federal government to clarify whether the 150,000 laptop computers promised last year during the Budget 2021 announcement have been completely distributed to students in need throughout the country.

Chan, who is also DAP Sabah Secretary, said that he has already submitted this question to the Secretary of the Dewan Rakyat, and he is expecting a full and frank answer from the Education Minister in the upcoming parliamentary session.

Yesterday, Chan had handed over a second-hand laptop at his service centre to Adneera Hew, a Sino-Murut Muslim student who excelled in her SPM last year.

"Adneera is a top student who obtained straight As in her SPM exam and had been offered a place at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UMK) to study Foundation in Science. However, she had faced difficulties as she did not have a computer that can be used to attend class online," said Chan.

Chan said that Adneera came from a single-parent family and was raised solely by her mother who was also the family's sole breadwinner. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, their family income were greatly affected as Adneera's mother's business dropped.

"Fortunately, Adneera was lucky enough to have her neighbour Ryanna Rahman generously lend her a computer for emergency when her class had started," said Chan.

On August 2, Ryanna approached the Kota Kinabalu MP’s office and sought help from Chan. Ryanna had showed Chan newspaper clippings of the articles reporting that Adneera had got good grades in the SPM exam, and hoped that the MP would be able to assist in Adneera's predicament.

"I am not a MP of the ruling party and have no resources to buy brand-new computers for students in need, nevertheless I have turned to the private sector to seek help. Thank god after some asking around, I have managed to find a second-hand laptop computer that is fit for purpose and satisfies Adneera's needs to attend online lessons," said Chan.

Chan remarked that however, there are countless "Adneeras" in this society who all need similar assistance. In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, having online classes is the only way for educational institutions within Malaysia and abroad to proceed with lessons. The lack of computer equipment due to the student being from a poor family will be certain to negatively affect the learning progress of the student.

"When Budget 2021 were tabled by Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul in Parliament on November 6 last year, it was announced that the federal government had allocated up to RM150million to give students across the country 150,000 laptop computers through the CERDIK program for online learning for students from low-income families."

“Early of this month, the PN government announced that it has distributed nearly 82,000 laptop computers to students in 618 schools across the country through the Yayasan Hasanah Foundation. This is in line with last year’s pledge to distribute 150,000 laptops by September this year. However, this also goes to show that there is still a long way to go before the delivery of all 150,000 laptops are completed!" said Chan.

Chan then demanded that the new cabinet led by the new Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, no matter who the new Minister of Education is going to be, must give priority to this issue.

"As such, I have submitted an oral question directed at the Minister of Education to be answered at the upcoming parliamentary session. I want to know the latest progress of the distribution of these 150,000 laptop computers, especially in Sabah. I want to know out of this 150,000, how many units have been allocated to students from Sabah, said Chan.

Chan said he also wants to know from the government after all 150,000 units have been fully distributed, whether there are any plans to add on and further extend the distribution of laptop computers to more underprivileged students.


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