PdPR: Coupons to own a laptop?

THE PdPR issue is dominating the public. Their predicaments, especially among B40 and M4, were about constraints to undergo PdPR, among others:
A) Lack of adequate laptop, device or data.
B) Quality of internet access.
C) Preparation of teaching staff.
This post is about problem (A).
Various efforts were done. Whether it is Ebit Liew, Syed Saddiq or certain NGOs, many non-Governmental parties also helped ease the burden of students. To me, it is not appropriate to criticize any of these efforts. As for education – the more helpful, the better.
Malaysia has almost 4.8 million primary and secondary school students. Taking the simple cipher, B40 has 2 million students and M40 also 2 million. The government can spend by providing subsidized coupons only for the purchase of laptops – for example RM1,000 for B40 and RM500 for M40.
If it is used in full, the total expenditure is RM3 billion. Less than 1% of Budget 2021. Both physical coupons and e-wallets can be considered. No need for strict specifications and complicated procurement process. Let students / parents decide what device they want to buy – as long as it is sufficient for PdPR.
Plus, coupons or vouchers to add to the spending cycle of the economy – God willing, there is no problem.
The key to addressing this PdPR challenge is with the Government. It is impossible for NGOs, political parties or individuals to provide laptops for everyone.
BUDGET 2021 outlines 150,000 laptops from GLC and GLIC contributions under the CERDIK initiative. Today, Yayasan Hasanah (Khazanah Nasional) informed that it is the secretariat of this initiative run jointly by the Ministry of Education which has set the specifications of the laptop.
This should have been resolved earlier, and the specs of the laptop should have been fixed last year – but it does not matter; we look ahead.
The bigger question, is 150,000 based on an in-depth study over the actual the number of students and households needing it? For B40 households for example,
– There may be only one laptop, which is not necessarily effective.
– Maybe the same laptop is used by parents for online business.
– Most likely in the same household, there is more than one student.
A study by the Ministry of Education itself last year indicated that 37% students do not have any electronic devices. Among those who have devices were in form of smartphones and not laptops/tablets or PCs.
My assumption – 150,000 laptops are not enough.
When the 2021 Budget is tabled, the Government expected schools to be opened on time. But the reality has changed. We are almost in February and it is not certain when the school session will resume.
It is now clear that this issue is prolonged and PdPR is no longer a will but has became a necessity across all segments.
If you have any other ideas or methods, you are most welcome. But most of all, all students must have the ability to undergo PdPR and the Government must give prior attention to it as their rights to a proper education must be observed.
Shahril Hamdan
UMNO Malaysia Information Chief