PETALING JAYA: Umno secretary-general Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki says it would be “cruel” to question an allocation of RM15.75 million made for the benefit of 63 independent Chinese schools nationwide given that the funding allocated for Malay education is RM3 billion.
He said independent Chinese schools had received a similar allocation from previous administrations, including when Perikatan Nasional chairman Muhyiddin Yassin was the prime minister.
The former Umno Youth chief pointed out that the government spends about RM1 billion annually on religious schools, while Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) allocates RM2 billion for its institutions.
“In total, we spend RM3 billion on Malay-Muslim education. That’s why I say it would be unjust (to question the allocation to private Chinese schools).
“People do not question our expenditure, so why would we want to question the RM15 million.” Asyraf said at a Barisan Nasional ceramah at Kampung Chemomoi in Pelangai, Pahang.
He stressed the importance of Umno in the unity government as the protector of Malay and Islamic interests.
In April, DAP secretary-general Loke Siew Fook said the government had approved an allocation of RM15.75 million for independent Chinese schools nationwide.
Loke said the request for funding, made by Dong Zong president Tan Tai Kim, was approved by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who is also the finance minister.
PAS’s shifting principles
Asyraf also addressed PAS’s shifting loyalties and principles, saying the party had been quiet about its fight for hudud and its Islamic state agenda following a previous alliance with DAP.
He said that when PAS was together with DAP in Pakatan Rakyat, the Islamist party had even convinced its grassroots that they needed to work with DAP to topple the Umno-led government of the time.
“When PAS was with DAP, they did not mind DAP members reading Quranic verses even if their (DAP’s) pronunciation was wrong. Instead they (PAS) would say let them read the verses and bring down Umno.
“All of a sudden, Lim Guan Eng was elevated to be like Caliph Umar Abdul Aziz. Should we forget that?” he said referring to the DAP chairman. Umar is considered one of the finest rulers in Muslim history.
Asyraf was speaking after defending DAP central executive member Howard Lee on Sunday, following criticim by PAS in the Dewan Rakyat over his recitation of Quranic verses.
The Umno secretary-general noted that PAS had no qualms about similar actions by DAP in the past.
PAS has been a particularly vocal critic of Lee, and at least one police report has been filed against the Ipoh Timur MP.