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KUCHING, Mar 7: The new federal government should look into the security aspect at schools if the cost cutting measures implemented by previous Pakatan Harapan (PH) government had compromised on safety of children and teachers.
Santubong MP Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar pointed this out in responding to claims that former finance minister Lim Guan Eng had cut RM50.7 million from the school safety budget, while the school hygiene budget was slashed RM427.3 million, affecting 1,382 companies and causing 10,406 workers to lose their jobs.
He also learnt from a security operator that the contract for security guards and maintenance had been cut by about 50 per cent.
“If the story is true, then I would say that the former finance minister’s obsession to reduce cost had gone overboard, which had neglected the safety of children, students and schools to save a little on government spending,” he said in a statement today.
School safety issue, he added, had been raised in the 1990s as problems like gangsterism, drug peddling and even attempted kidnapping in schools and the vicinity had posed a severe threat to students.
“Teachers could lock the gate to prevent students from going out and outsiders from coming in but they cannot be expected to control what happened outside the school gate.
“As such, these problems led to public outcry by concerned and worried parents,” he shared.
Wan Junaidi highlighted that the government responded to this situation by introducing outsourcing school security throughout the country so to ensure students and school safety as well as to assure worried parents.
Outsourcing school security, he said, also provided employment to a lot of ailing security companies throughout the country as well as giving job opportunities to ex-servicemen and able bodied individuals.
“Personally, the amount of money that the government is spending to ensure safety at schools is worth it because the most important thing is the safety of students and teachers.
“With cost cutting policy, I fear what happened in the 1990s may come back and safety of students and teachers are at risk while most security guards which fall under the B40 group will lose their source of income.
“If this is true, I urge the Pakatan Nasional (PN) administration to restore the security in schools for the sake of children and teachers’ safety,” he urged. —DayakDaily