Education minister rubbishes Unicef report on urban poor children


EDUCATION Minister Mahdzir Khalid has downplayed a Unicef report which on the deprivation and malnutrition among children living in low-cost flats in Kuala Lumpur.

He told the Dewan Rakyat during question time today that government schemes, such as the supplementary food programme (RMT), covered all schools in rural and urban areas.

“I don’t know how the Unicef report was published and how it could compare (us) with Ghana. 

“We have our own study (and) so far there is no school that shows our pupils are deprived. (And) actually, there’s no case of pupils going hungry at schools, as reported by teachers,” he said in reply to a supplementary question from Nurul Izzah Anwar (PKR-Lembah Pantai).

The Unicef report, Children Without: A study of urban child poverty and deprivation in low-cost flats in Kuala Lumpur, published on February 26, shows that children living in low-cost flats are deprived in terms of nutrition, education, safety and other living conditions.

The study is a measure of government programmes for the urban poor.

It found that 34% of children under five in Kelantan face stunted growth, followed by Terengganu and Pahang (26%) and Putrajaya, Perak, Sabah & Labuan (24%).

Stunted growth in children in Sarawak was 23%, followed by Perlis (21%), Penang (20%), Negri Sembilan (19%), Kedah (18%), Malacca (14%), Johor (12%) and Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur (11%).

The report, which compared countries with similar GDP per capita as Malaysia, said in terms of stunting, Malaysian children were worse than Ghana, despite its GDP per capita being six times higher, at 21%. – March 13, 2018.  




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