Malaysian primary school children to get free breakfast from next January

Malaysia's Education Minister Maszlee Malik said his ministry cares about the pupils' diet and will always push forward various incentives to ensure the children have access to nutritious food.
Malaysia's Education Minister Maszlee Malik said his ministry cares about the pupils' diet and will always push forward various incentives to ensure the children have access to nutritious food.PHOTO: DR MASZLEE MALIK/FACEBOOK

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A free breakfast will be provided for all Malaysian primary school children beginning January next year, Education Minister Maszlee Malik said.

Dr Maszlee said his ministry cares about the pupils' diet and will always push forward various incentives to ensure the children have access to nutritious food.

"Our children need a precise eating schedule and balanced eating habits to ensure that they continue to stay healthy and active, while they stay focused in their studies every day," he said in a statement on Monday (Aug 26).

"Therefore, beginning January 2020, the Education Ministry will launch the free breakfast programme for pupils in primary schools nationwide.

"Through this programme, the children will be provided with a tasty breakfast based on a healthy menu, and it is free," Dr Maszlee added.

He said that the ministry will continue to look into an avenue to ensure that children will attend school feeling happy.

The statement made by Dr Maszlee on his Facebook page did not indicate if the free breakfast programme would replace the Supplementary Food Programme (Rancangan Makanan Tambahan/ RMT) for school children who are from highly impoverished families.

The Education Ministry launched the RMT programme in 1979, under the Barisan Nasional administration.

Under the programme, schoolchildren in Peninsular Malaysia will be provided food worth RM2.50 (S$0.80) per day for 190 days per year, while those in Sabah and Sarawak will be provided food worth RM3 per day for 190 days in a year.

Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching had said in 2018 that the ministry has allocated a total of RM289 million for the RMT programme.

She was reported saying that while RM 250 million would be used to provide food to pupils, the remaining RM 39 million would be used to supply milk or other foods.