GEORGE TOWN: Penang has urged Putrajaya to make public the list of education institutions in the state with active Covid-19 cases following requests by concerned parents.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said, without revealing the list of affected schools, this would only lead to all sorts of speculations.
He said the Penang government supported the concerned parents' request.
"Parents, concerned about the safety of their children, want the authorities to name the education institutions, be it kindergartens or schools or tuition centres, so that they can act accordingly.
"As such, the Penang government urged the Health Ministry (MOH) to consider the parents' request, so as to put a stop to any form of speculations," he told newsmen here today.
He was commenting on the need for education institutions to be closed following active Covid-19 cases in some schools in the state.
The latest closure involved SMK Methodist in Nibong Tebal. A memorandum spotted by the New Straits Times alerted parents and guardians to the school's closure beginning today until Friday (April 23). School will resume next Monday (April 26).
The memorandum stated that the school was ordered close after positive Covid-19 cases were reported there recently.
Chow said there were education institutions which had been ordered close, some partially while others selected classes, following Covid-19 cases there.
"I am sure the health authority will carry out risk assessment and advise accordingly when there are active cases. That is the approach now," he added.
Chow, however, said of the 10 active Covid-19 clusters in the state, none involved the education institution although there were schools with active cases. Of the 10 clusters, nine were from the manufacturing sector.
Penang has been reporting double digit Covid-19 cases for the past few days.
Chow was met after witnessing the signing of a memorandum between Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Angkasa X Innovation Sdn Bhd and Digital Penang to collaborate on satellite engineering and professional courses.
Under this collaboration, USM and Angkasa-X would collaborate to offer a professional course in satellite engineering while Digital Penang would market and promote the course to potential students from the manufacturing field in Penang.
In his speech, Chow said Penang constantly searched for the next adjacent sector that would continue to tap on its engineering prowess and strengthen the manufacturing ecosystem which had been so vital to its development.
"And today, we are reaching not only another milestone but heading towards a different frontier in the future of STEM ( Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics ) in Penang. I am most delighted and excited to witness the signing, which will enable Penang to spearhead and be the launchpad for the New Space Economy in the Asean region.
"Technology is evolving at an astonishing pace and Penang's industrial policy will continue to adapt to stay relevant by moving into higher value-added sectors. Our core focus will continue to be on attracting, developing and retaining our talents especially in the field of STEM.
"As there are many unknowns, it is not surprising that many may be skeptical about this venture into space. Once time will tell because making the brave steps into a new frontier is never for the faint-hearted. It is high time we challenge ourselves to think outside the box and to broaden our horizon into exploring the vast potential of the New Space Economy," he added.