Sarawak DAP chief says if shipping cost is the reason for the higher price of books, then the difference should be subsidised by the government.
KUCHING: Sarawak DAP today urged Putrajaya to standardise the price of school textbooks for pupils in East and Peninsular Malaysia as East Malaysians are paying more for the same books that are made compulsory by the government.
Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen pointed out that currently, the price difference ranged from 5.7% to 11% for textbooks required by the school syllabus of primary pupils, adding that this was an additional burden for those studying in East Malaysia.
“I think there should be a uniform price and we should not be made to pay more than those in Peninsular Malaysia,” Chong said.
One example he cited was the English language revision book for Standard Six pupils, which is sold at RM4.30 in Peninsular Malaysia and RM4.80 or 11.6% higher in East Malaysia.
The Bahasa Malaysia exercise book for Standard Five pupils is sold at RM5.70 in Peninsular Malaysia and priced at RM6.30 in East Malaysia.
Based on 2011 government data, Chong said there were 289,000 primary school pupils in Sarawak.
“At about RM100 (for each parent) to buy books, you’re talking about RM30 million in additional costs. That’s money sucked out of Sarawak, on average, every year,” Chong said.
Chong also said that if shipping cost was the reason behind the higher prices of textbooks, the cost difference should then be subsidised by the government.
“If the shipping cost is a concern, then the government has to step in, otherwise the books would be more expensive in rural areas,” he said.
“The shipping cost should not be made a reason because these are books made compulsory by the government. The people have no choice but to purchase it.”