The Malaysian government has the budget for the Free Breakfast Programme to be implemented in Malaysian schools next year, says Dr Mahathir Mohamad today.
The prime minister said the government can use the consolidated fund from the various ministries and agencies to implement the programme that will benefit pupils in government and government-aided primary schools.
Asked whether the government may use part of the soda tax revenue to fund the programme, Mahathir said all proposals will be looked into.
“All taxes collected will be distributed to the ministries and agencies according to need. If there is a need for an additional allocation, we will consider and if we can afford it, we will provide it (the allocation).
“But we must remember that the previous government left behind much debt and the present government has to repay the debt,” he told Malaysian journalists after concluding his three-day official visit to Vietnam.
Asked about the perfect menu for the pupils’ breakfast, Mahathir many healthy menus are suitable for the programme.
Last Monday, Education Minister Maszlee Malik announced that about 2.7 million pupils in government and government-aided primary schools will receive free healthy breakfast from the 2020 school session.
It was reported that the government will have to spend between RM2 billion and RM3 billion annually on the programme, depending on the menu.
Meanwhile, on his Facebook and Twitter accounts, Maszlee said the ministry is looking into a suitable cost of implementing the programme.
A special committee is also to be set up to discuss in detail the allocation to be utilised, including the use of funds from the soda tax revenue.