PETALING JAYA: MCA today questioned Putrajaya’s plan to provide free breakfast to children in primary schools nationwide, suggesting that the money can be used for other initiatives instead.
Party president Wee Ka Siong said based on his calculations, the government would spend RM1.6 billion to feed some 2.7 million primary school pupils for 200 days in a year.
“Wouldn’t it be better if the amount is spent on helping poor farmers or set aside to build affordable homes and low-cost housing for the poor?” he asked in a Facebook post.
In announcing the initiative yesterday, Education Minister Maszlee Malik said it was meant to ensure that pupils had the right nutrition to stay healthy and focus on their daily lessons.
Maszlee said this was part of the ministry’s initiatives to ensure that school children had access to nutritious food.
Wee wondered, with the increasing debt the Pakatan Harapan government was accumulating, whether it was reasonable for the government to implement such an initiative.
The Ayer Hitam MP and former minister noted that the previous Barisan Nasional government implemented a similar initiative where it spent RM289 million in 2018 to provide meals for 489,117 pupils from underprivileged families.
He also asked if students from well-to-do families would be eligible for the free meals.