The minister, who was widely ridiculed over his amateurish keris-wielding stunts at the UMNO General Assembly, shot back at parents, telling them to “go ahead, take your money back”. The issue here has got less to do with Malaysian parents being stingy than a lack of proper information on the part of the Education Ministry. It is a natural reaction for parents –especially during these times of rising costs – to be less-than-willing to pay a fee they are not obliged to. It is precisely because of this, that it becomes even more urgent for the Ministry to explain thoroughly the benefits that will be channeled to the school community through these non-compulsory payments. Malaysian parents are well-known for emphasizing their child’s education, so their complaints against extra charges has less to do with the financial aspect than confusion over the abolishment of school fees that was announced by the government last September.
It is unfortunate that M. Kayveas, the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, seems to take more interest in this matter when he called for school charges to be standardized to avoid confusion. It is even more unfortunate that the Education Minister refuses to listen to such suggestions, instead telling Kayveas to “wait until he’s education minister to solve all the problems”. If only we all had that luxury, Hishamuddin. The problems are staring at you straight in the eye, and the best you can come up with are cheap shots at confused parents and a concerned deputy minister. Grow up.