Some of the major announcements related to education made in the federal budget 2012 tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in parliament in October this year are:
- RM50.2bil will be allocated to the education sector so that it can continue to develop talented, creative and innovative people
- RM1bil will be provided through a special fund for the construction, improvement and maintenance of schools
- We will abolish payments for primary and secondary education, making these free for the first time in our history
- Private schools registered with the Education Ministry will be given incentives including an Investment Tax Allowance
- The Govt will give tax exemption for contributions to educational institutions and all places of worship
- To encourage private sector human capital development incentives including a double deduction on scholarships will be offered
- Book voucher worth RM200 will be given to Malaysian students in all private and public institutions of higher learning
- One off RM100 aid for each school pupil aged 6 to 16.
- RM120 million to offer 5,000 Masters and 500 doctoral scholarships for eligible civil servants, including teachers.
- The government will offer 20,000 places for diploma teachers to pursue undergraduate studies.
Update 29/1/2012: Minister of Higher Education Ministry said that cops are investigating varsity students advertising their 1Malaysia RM200-book vouchers for sale at a cheaper price online.
According to BERNAMA, at least 113 students from Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) have sold their Baucar Buku 1Malaysia (BB1M) at RM180 to a couple who own a bookshop at Kuala Lumpur. The couple was suspected to get RM20 profit from each voucher bought and arrested for investigation.
UUM Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mohamed Mustafa Ishak said the couple have no connection with UUM and their presence in campus were to buy book vouchers from the students. Mustafa also said that all students involved will be called as soon as the second semester begins as he has identified them.
On a related note, all Borders Malaysia bookstore are currently offering free Borders Rewards Card Membership and free Starbucks buy 1 free 1 voucher when you spend a minimum of RM100 (2 x RM50 BB1M vouchers).
Update 16/12/2011: Minister of Higher Education Ministry said that only those higher education students registered and active in January till March 2012 are eligible for this book voucher.
Today, Minister of Higher Education Ministry, Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said eligible Malaysian students can start collecting RM200 book voucher from the respective education institution from the 3rd of January, 2012. All current part-time and full-time Malaysian students in Form 6, Matriculation, diploma, Vocational programmes and polytechnics schools and those undergraduates (degree) and postgraduates (master, phd) studying at public and private local institutions of higher learning are eligible.
Previously, deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said that the book voucher is not redeemable for cash and students must make full use of it to buy books, references, journals, Science magazines or learning aids.
Also, the higher education institutions have prepared a list of eligible students together with their identity card numbers or matriculation or registration numbers. Students must ensure that their names, identity card numbers and the stamp of their institution are filled on each voucher. Each voucher has the value of RM50 hence each eligible student will receive a total of four RM50 book vouchers. The book voucher is valid from the 1st of January, 2012 until the 31st of March, 2012. These vouchers can be used at all participating bookstores.
From the Prime Minister's Budget 2012 speech (download pdf):
41. Knowledge is the pillar of civilisation and the foundation for excellence. Therefore, to achieve the aspiration of becoming a developed and high-income country, the Government continues to give priority to the development of the education system to produce talented, highly-skilled, creative and innovative workforce. The education sector will be allocated RM50.2 billion in 2012. For the Ministry of Education, development allocation amounting RM1.9 billion will be spend on all types of school consisting of national schools, national-type Chinese and Tamil schools, mission schools and Government-assisted religious schools.
42. In addition, RM1 billion will be provided through a special fund for the construction, improvement and maintenance of schools, particularly to cater for the immediate needs of schools. Of this, RM100 million each will be for the national-type Chinese schools, national-type Tamil schools, mission schools, Government- assisted religious schools, Maktab Rendah Sains MARA while the remaining RM500 million for national schools.
43. To provide a brighter future for all Malaysian children irrespective of their socioeconomic background, the Government will ensure quality and affordable access to education. Currently, students in primary and secondary schools are still required to pay RM24.50 and RM33.50, respectively, for co-curriculum, internal test papers, Malaysian Schools Sports Council fees and insurance premium. To ease the burden on parents, it is proposed that these payments be abolished commencing the 2012 school year. With this announcement, for the first time in history, primary and secondary education is provided free. The abolition of these payments would involve an allocation of RM150 million.
44. The private sector also plays an important role in providing quality education towards creating an excellent future generation. In line with this, the Government proposes private schools registered with the Ministry of Education and complies with stipulated regulations be given the following incentives:
First: Income tax exemption of 70% or Investment Tax Allowance of 100% on qualifying capital expenditure for a period of 5 years;
Second: Double deduction for overseas promotional expenses to attract more foreign students; and
Third: Import duty and sales tax exemptions on all educational equipment. The Government hopes that the savings accrued to the private school operators will subsequently result in the reduction of school fees to ease the burden of parents.
45. Registered primary and secondary schools, including national schools, national-type schools, mission schools and Government-assisted religious schools often receive financial contribution from companies and individuals to upgrade school facilities. To encourage more charitable activities, contributions are eligible for tax deductions. This facility will be extended to all registered places of worship. The Government will expedite tax exemption approvals for education institution and all places of worship.
46. In addition, the private sector is encouraged to work together in strengthening the development of high-skilled human capital. To achieve this, the Government proposes tax incentives as follows:
First: Double deduction on allowances paid by companies to the participants of internship program;
Second: Double deduction on scholarship awards; and
Third: Double deduction on expenses incurred to participate in career fairs abroad.
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