PETALING JAYA: Parents welcome the decision by the government to provide free breakfast to deserving pupils in 100 schools.
Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education chairman Mak Chee Kin said it would be quite a heavy financial burden to provide free meals to all primary school pupils.
He said those who qualify for the living aid should receive the free breakfast.
“I would also propose that instead of free food, these children should be given cash vouchers to be used in the school canteen for them to buy food like any other child, ” he said, adding that this would remove the stigma of being identified as “poor” among the pupils.
Mak was responding to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s decision to provide free breakfasts for “deserving pupils”.
Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia honorary secretary Tunku Munawirah Putra said the free breakfast programme, which begins on Monday, was the same as the Supplementary Food Programme (RMT), and that stringent guidelines need to be set up and enforced.
“It is a fully subsidised meal plan for pupils from poor families, ” she said, referring to the RMT.
She cautioned that the right vendors need to be chosen and continuously monitored to ensure the standard of the food provided will be maintained throughout the programme.
“To provide breakfast to everyone means even those who are rich and (can afford to have breakfast at home) will get them too. So, it’s not fair, ” said Dr Mahathir, who is also acting Education Minister, after officiating at the Balai Islam Complex at Tenaga Nasional Bhd headquarters in Bangsar.
Former education minister Dr Maszlee Malik had previously stated that the breakfast scheme would be for all pupils regardless of their parents’ income status.
The programme was initially for all 2.7 million pupils in government and government-aided primary schools for both morning and afternoon sessions.