Oil palm project promises to deliver an average of RM3.6mil a year
IT IS certainly not a case of counting the chicks before the eggs are hatched for the nine Chinese independent schools in Perak, which were promised an average of RM3.6mil a year for the next 30 years.
The schools got their first payment of RM1.1mil from their oil palm venture last month although planting on the1,011.714ha plot was scheduled to start only in September.
Perak MCA Youth chief Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon, who was instrumental in negotiating the deal between Semangat Suwa Sdn Bhd (a company jointly owned by the nine schools) and Sawit Langkap Sdn Bhd revealed that it was no ordinary business deal.
“One of the main conditions in our negotiation is that the schools must start to get payment beginning this year.
“The deal has been made possible because of the noble intentions from all involved.
“It is a synergy of political will, good business acumen and love for education for the children,” he said in an interview in Ipoh on Saturday.
The venture was made possible by MCA when the Barisan Nasional-led Perak government donated the 99-year-lease land in Gunung Besout, Sungkai to the nine schools.
The schools 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).
The schools are dependent on public funding and the estimated annual operating cost per school is RM800,000.
Despite the schools being assured of quite a substantial sum each year, Dr Mah promised that MCA would continue to find ways to help them improve their financial standing.
He cited the recent charity show Journey to the West that raised RM600,000 for the schools as an example.
Dr Mah said MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, who is also Perak MCA chairman, had topped up the sum raised with a similar amount, or a ringgit-for-ringgit pledge.
The show was organised by the Perak government’s Non- Islamic Affairs Department under Dr Mah, who is executive councillor.
Dr Mah also said he and the parties involved had taken two years to conclude the oil palm deal; from identifying a suitable plot of land to inking a 30-year-long payment schedule for the schools.
Last month, Sawit Langkap director Lean Ah Too handed the first RM1.1mil to Semangat Suwa chairman Datuk Hew Choy Kon at the oil palm plantation and it was witnessed by Dr Mah.
On the DAP saying that it was the Pakatan Rakyat’s idea to give land to independent schools in Perak to enable them to be self-sustained, Dr Mah said the DAP had only made the announcement.
“The DAP did not even bother to identify a suitable piece of land.
“In fact, they told the schools to look for the land,” he said.
Nonetheless, Dr Mah challenged the Pakatan government in Penang and Selangor to provide a similar business opportunity for independent schools in their respective state.
There are 60 Chinese independent schools nationwide.