Don’t use public funds to buy 150,000 laptops, warns Najib

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PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak has warned the government against using the public’s savings to pay for the 150,000 laptops promised to students in 500 schools.

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In a Facebook post, Najib questioned why Permodalan Nasional Bhd and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) were among the government-linked investment companies (GLICs) listed to contribute towards the RM150 million fund for the devices.

“Why are the people’s Amanah Saham Bumiputera and EPF savings being targeted and used for government initiatives, when it should be paid out from the government’s budget?” he asked.

The Pekan MP also questioned why Khazanah Nasional Bhd was not helping with the provision of laptops, when the company had disposed of assets worth “tens of billions of ringgit”.

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“Where is the money from the sale of national assets going? Funds from Khazanah and Petronas should be enough,” he said.

He urged Khazanah and Petronas to expedite the purchase of the 150,000 laptops, as online classes have begun with the new academic year.

Last year, Putrajaya had announced that GLICs and government-linked companies would contribute RM150 million into Tabung Cerdik to provide laptops to students.

Several quarters have questioned the delay in the delivery of the devices since the government’s announcement in November, including former youth and sports minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman and former deputy education minister Teo Nie Ching.

The government has since announced that the first batch of laptops, along with tablets and data, will be delivered to students in February, with funding from 13 companies.- FMT

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