Former Penang Chief Minister Koh Tsu Koon made a brief appearance in Butterworth to dish out cheques to representatives of mission schools in Kedah and Penang.
Representatives of 30 to 40 mission schools in the two states received cheques in an hour-long ceremony yesterday afternoon at the St Mark’s Secondary School canteen, which has been refurbished into a school hall of sorts.
In all, Penang mission schools received a total of RM4.25m. St Mark’s Secondary School alone is believed to have received RM500000 for its four-storey building project. Kedah mission schools obtained a total of over RM1m.
Addressing the gathering of about a hundred people, Tsu Koon spoke of promises being fulfilled (janji ditepati).
Miniature national flags were also distributed to the mission school reps and at the end of the ceremony, the PA system blared out the 1Malaysia song. Those who felt like it could join in as the lyrics were provided in the programme and the reps were encouraged to wave the flags to the music.
“Some of us joined in,” said one of the school reps. “By then, we had already received the cheques.”
Bernama had reported on 6 September that the government had allocated RM100m in the 2012 Budget for 428 missionary schools throughout the country. “… on average, each school receives between RM40000 and RM50000, while some schools might get more as they are being repaired or expanded,” Tsu Koon was reported as saying. That is one of the largest federal government handouts to mission schools in recent times.
In the case of Penang, quite a number of schools received more than RM100000 each, according to a source – more than the RM40000-RM50000 figure mentioned by Koh in the Bernama report.
Indeed, it has been good times for the mission schools in Penang as they had also received similar handouts from the Penang state government not long ago.
Since 2009 the Penang state government has allocated more than RM30m to the religious, vernacular and mission schools in the state. “This has given much pressure on BN to keep up. In the last two years, the federal government has given RM600000 to a missionary school in Bukit Mertajam, which is unprecedented,” Penang Deputy Chief Minister P Ramasamy was reported as saying last October.