Nine Chinese schools receive money from oil palm cultivation
IT WAS a day in history for Perak’s nine Chinese independent schools last Saturday when they jointly received RM1.1mil — money from their venture into oil palm cultivation.
The instalment was the first out of 30 annual instalments due to them over the next three decades to help ease their financial burden.
They will receive RM1.1mil for the first five years and then RM5.1mil thereafter.
The beneficiaries are SM Shen Jai, SM Yuk Choy and SM Poi Lam in Ipoh, SM Nam Hwa (Sitiawan), SM Yik Ching (Pantai Remis), SM Pei Yuan (Kampar), SM Hua Lian (Taiping), SM Sam Min (Teluk Intan) and SM Tsung Wah (Kuala Kangsar).
This was made possible by MCA when the state government under Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir’s leadership gave a 1,000ha plot of land in Gunung Besout, Sungkai to the nine schools last year for them to venture into oil palm cultivation.
Subsequently, Semangat Suwa Sdn Bhd (a company co-owned by the schools) and Sawit Langkap Sdn Bhd struck a deal on the venture.
Last Saturday, Sawit Langkap director Lean Ah Too handed the first RM1.1mil to Semangat Suwa chairman Datuk Hew Choy Kon at the site.
The event was witnessed by Perak MCA Youth chief and state executive councillor Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon — the man who had persevered to make sure the venture — the first of its kind for Chinese education in the country — materialised.
At a function in Bidor Station, Bidor, the following day, MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said the party would always live up to its promises to the people.
He described the oil palm venture, which materialised in less than a year as something that not every state could do.
“We (MCA) are not perfect, but we always give our best to the people,” he stressed.
There have been several breakthroughs in Chinese education, especially for Chinese independent schools, since Dr Chua took over the party more than two years ago.
Among others, holders of the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) from the schools could enter public teachers training college and apply for the PTPTN loan.
Every year there will be 50 UEC top scorers; each receiving RM45,000 worth of scholarship from the Government.
Dr Chua said MCA would be willing to support anyone who is for education.
Likewise, he said anyone who politicised education to undermine MCA was actually hurting the people.
“MCA must be united and strong in order to have the standing to help the community,” he stressed.
Meanwhile Lean said cultivation was expected to start in September, adding that harvesting of the fruits would be about five years from now.
“We will make full use of every part of the land to ensure a profitable return,” he said.
Hew hoped both companies could benefit from the state government-initiated partnership.
“It would also be good for other states to emulate this cooperation model,” he said.
Dr Mah said the state government was sincere in wanting to help Chinese independent schools.
“We hope by giving them a piece of land, which was originally a forest reserve, can help them to lessen their financial burden,” he said.
He also said the land premium, which had been revised from RM2.09mil to RM10,117, was fully paid by sponsors.