(File pix) Deputy Education Minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan with SJKT Puchong students. Kamalanathan said government has allocated RM84.52 million for Tamil primary schools (SJKTs) for 2017, and RM24.5 million from the allocation had been utilised for school developments.

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has allocated RM84.52 million for Tamil primary schools (SJKTs) for 2017, the Dewan Rakyat was told.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan said RM24.5 million from the allocation had been utilised for school developments.

"The expenditure, among others, included spending on total replacements, construction of additional building blocks, new schools, pre-schools and land acquisition.

"At the same time, the government has allocated a special maintenance allowance (PPK) to the tune of RM50 million in 2017 to Tamil schools for the purpose of infrastructure maintenance.

"A further RM10 million is allocated for the construction of 50 pre-school classes in Tamil schools, which will be disbursed in two phases starting from December,” said the Hulu Selangor MP.

He said this in reply to DAP lawmaker V. Sivakumar (DAP-Batu Gajah) who questioned the government’s efforts in improving Tamil schools.

Kamalanathan said under phase one of the PPK, a total of RM25 million had been disbursed in October to SJKTs listed as government schools.

Another RM25 million is allocated to SJKTs listed as government-aided schools.

Among the key requirement for the SJKTs to receive the 2017 government assistance allocation is a preliminary report by the schools on how they have utilised the previous budget provisions.

This is to ensure that the funds are being used prudently.

On the construction of seven new Tamil primary schools, he said SJKT KoSarangkabani Paya Besar in Kedah will start to operate next year while the others are still in construction stage.

Overall, there are 524 SJKTs in the country, out of which 367 were government-aided schools and 157 government schools.

Reports by: ARFA YUNUS, BEATRICE NITA JAY and FERNANDO FONG

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