[UPDATED] PM announces RM100 book vouchers for Year 4 to tertiary students


KUALA LUMPUR: A RM100 book voucher will be given to all Year 4 primary school pupils all the way to tertiary-level students in stages from tomorrow, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

He said these vouchers could be used from 2pm onwards at the ongoing 2024 Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair (PBAKL).

"We will begin with pupils in Year Four due to the financial constraints faced by the government. 

"The vouchers will be given to students in Sekolah Kebangsaan, Sekolah Arab (religious schools), Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina and Tamil, as well as to university students. This includes secondary school, college, and teaching institution students."

Present at the event were Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir and Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali. 

Anwar said that the mechanism for claiming the vouchers would be revealed tomorrow, with Fadhlina and Zambry overseeing the review and guidance for the distribution process. 

"We hope the vouchers can be used before the book fair ends.

He also said a guide would be issued specifying the types of books that students could purchase with the vouchers. 

"This includes classic novels like Hang Tuah and works by national laureates such as Datuk Seri A. Samad Said, Datuk Dr Shahnon Ahmad, and Datuk Dr Anwar Ridhwan," he said.

"Additionally, there will be titles on digitalisation and artificial intelligence (AI) to keep our students informed about AI developments," he said.

Anwar said for half of the voucher amount, students would have the freedom to choose their own books. 

"In the past, the books purchased were not of high quality. This arrangement aims to ensure better selection."

In his speech, Anwar said that to make Malaysia a great and a developed country, it was crucial to inculcate the habit of reading, especially among the younger generation.

"It is worrying that the interest in reading has declined and it has been replaced by social media which supposedly gives a one or two-minute report. 

"Therefore, in this Madani country, we must be brave to make a shift (to make reading a habit among Malaysians).

"(And) I would like to thank the organisers (of PABKL) not only for the growing number of visitors but also in terms of book sales so far." 

Following the launch, Anwar toured the book fair, which runs from May 24 to June 2. 

With over 1.25 million visitors annually, this year's PBAKL aims for 1.5 million visitors and promises exciting activities for book enthusiasts of all ages. 

The event features 972 booths and 241 exhibitors, including 14 international exhibitors from countries such as Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, India, China, Taiwan, and Iran.

Meanwhile, Zambry, when met, said his ministry would announce the mechanism for the book vouchers. 

He said the universities would carry out the distribution of the vouchers for the tertiary students. 

"These vouchers will lighten the students' financial burden," he added.


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