Single Malay mother throws a lifeline to Chinese school

A single Malay mother from Penang has thrown a Chinese primary school in Perak a lifeline by sending three of her children to the school, the Chinese press reported yesterday.

Were it not for the timely arrival of the three pupils, SJK (C) Aik Hua of Pasir Hitam, near Taiping, would have to close down after its sole pupil left the school prematurely at the end of last year.

The three siblings, two girls and a boy aged between six and 11, were pupils of SJK (C) Poay Wah in Penang. They will study Years One, Three and Six in Aik Hua when school reopens.

Last year, the board of Aik Hua hit the panic button when it learnt that its only pupil had applied for a transfer as his family was moving to Taiping.

To attract new pupils, the board and parent-teacher association (PTA) Aik Hua offered an allowance of RM150 a month to each pupil who enrols in the school.

Hasisah, a 47-year-old mother of 10 children, responded to the school’s distress call in October.

Now each of her three children will receive not RM150 but RM300 a month in allowance as Bukit Gantang MCA will also provide a monthly allowance of RM150 to each pupil in the school.

According to the reports, Aik Hua, which was founded in 1940, had more than 200 pupils in its heyday.

Rural-urban migration has resulted in a drastic drop in population in the village, the only source of pupils for the school.

Parliament is likely to be dissolved sometime after Feb 15 and the 13th general election held around mid-March, Nanyang Siang Pau reported yesterday.

According to the daily, a source close to the prime minister’s think tank said barring any unforeseen circumstances, the next general election would be held during the first term school holidays next
year, with March 10 or 11 as the most likely polls date.

The source said Umno will finalise its election candidates next month.

Tradition dictates that the general election be held within three months of Umno unveiling its candidate list.

It said that to the Barisan Nasional (BN), March is the best time for the general election to be called to take advantage of the feel good effect that the RM500 aid for poor families creates among the rakyat.

“The last day for apply for the aid is Jan 10. It is expect to be disbursed by the middle of February. If (BN does) not seize the opportunity, the positive impact of the aid would be lost as people are quick to forget.”

The source said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak would announce the dissolution of the parliament anytime after Feb 25 to seek his first mandate from the people since taking over as the premier.

The source pointed out that as school will break from March 10 to 18 (March 9 to 17 for Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu), it makes sense for the BN government to call for elections during that period, and ideally on March 10 (Saturday) or 11 (Sunday).

Meanwhile, Sin Chew Daily reported that members of the police force have been informed that all leave from March 1 to 20 has been frozen, prompting speculation that the general election is indeed near.

However, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar, when contacted by the daily, said he was unaware of any freeze on leave for the police force.