KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 21 ― Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has called on the new government to postpone reopening schools, citing concerns about the runaway daily rate of positive Covid-19 cases.

The two-time former prime minister has proposed children remain at home and classes be broadcasted on television, with the involvement of all available channels.

“Pejuang had conducted a thorough research about school reopening,” he wrote in his blog, referring to Parti Pejuang Tanah Air, of which he is the chairman.

“The finding was that we are of the opinion that schools should not be reopened for the time being. We urge the new government to delay the reopening of schools until the Covid-19 outbreak subsides.”

The then Perikatan Nasional administration announced six days ago that schools nationwide will reopen October 3, after initially planning to let classes resume on September 1.

The one-month delay followed concerns about the rate of daily Covid-19 cases, which have stayed in the five digits in the last few weeks.

Malaysia has been ranked by The Economist’s Intelligence Unit as one of the worst performers in its pandemic response, Dr Mahathir noted.

“This shows that the actions taken by the PN administration had failed to rein in the Covid-19 outbreak despite governing without any legal or constitutional limitations due to the declaration of Emergency,” the Pejuang chief wrote.

For TV learning, the former prime minister suggested one channel to allot time for the “best teachers” to teach syllabus for each standard. A panel consisting of the most qualified teachers will be formed for every 10 schools and each standard.

Parents are encouraged to sit with their children when classes take place. Dr Mahathir did not state if TV learning should be applied for both primary and secondary education.

The method will likely face hiccups in the beginning, Dr Mahathir admitted. But he insisted that TV learning can work.

“There will be problems in the beginning. All can be solved, both the technical and technological,” he wrote.

“With this method, all pupils and students will enjoy the teachings by the best teachers in the country,” he added.


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