PETALING JAYA: Higher Education Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed has apologised to the Education Ministry over a statement made by his deputy Datuk Ong Tee Keat alleging that funds meant for Chinese school renovations had been misappropriated.
“The Cabinet decided that it is not appropriate for a government officer to openly criticise fellow officers in other ministries,” Mustapa said, adding that the situation would not recur.
He said if there were any issues, they should be raised directly with the Minister.
“Ever since I became minister, I have tried to establish a good working relationship between the two ministries,” he said.
“I hope that the Deputy Higher Education Minister’s statement will not jeopardise the close cooperation that has been forged.”
In a separate statement, Education Ministry deputy secretary-general Fatimah Md Deni said investigations revealed that there was no basis to Ong’s claim.
She said in September last year, the Government approved an additional allocation for renovations to unsafe partially-aided government schools and state education departments were asked to identify schools in need of urgent repair.
Among the schools earmarked were SJKC Ai Hwa and SJKC Kung Yu in Muar with repairs costing RM20,000 and RM30,000 respectively. The repairs were completed and payment was made.
“As such, there is no issue of misappropriation of funds. The Education Ministry is firm that any allegation of its officers misusing the funds meant for Chinese primary schools in Johor is a lie,” she said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Education Minister Datuk Hon Choon Kim said at the Parliament lobby here that there was only one complaint from the 140 Chinese schools which received allocations from the Education Ministry for refurbishment.
Hon said he visited two schools in Johor on Monday together with Public Works Department (JKR) officers and found that the renovation in one school did not justify the RM30,000 allocation received.
He said the project was supervised by JKR and they are fully aware of the case. He added that he would leave it to JKR to investigate.