PETALING JAYA: Malaysian Book Industry Council (MBIC) today claimed there was abuse 1 Malaysia Book Voucher (BB1M) when there are those that allow students to use it to buy electronic gadgets.

MBIC chairman Mohd Ramly Ngah Idris said, students are allowed to change BB1M vouchers with computer equipment, cell phones, clothing, mobile value-added, food and much more.

Whereas according to the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Higher Education, students can use this voucher only to buy reference books, except for the fulfillment of purchase then students are allowed to buy stationery.

He claimed, among a number of cases detected during book fair in Shah Alam Polytechnic that allow participation and redemption BB1M with mobile phone accessories, computers, food, clothing and scarves.

In addition, the book fair at the International Islamic University (IIUM) Gombak and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) that offers redemption with various gadgets and items of information technology (IT), a book exhibition at Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) that offers redemption BB1M with goods IT also accessories glasses.

Also involved in the book fair Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Sri Iskandar with only four stalls and more than 10 book publishers stalls offering clothing, scarves and many other items for BB1M redemption.

“This is just part of BB1M abuse that have occurred and continue to occur through a variety of book exhibitions in public higher education institutions and the private sector and various other exhibits. Many other cases that we do not mention here, “he said in a statement.

KPT urge to take action

Accordingly, Mohd Ramly said he urged the Ministry of Education (MOE) take immediate action to ensure the monitoring of the Guidelines 1 Malaysia Book Voucher observed.

“Traders and suppliers who take the opportunity to offer redemption to the student / learner with material other than books and stationery immediately stop their actions,” he said.

He also urged any person who organizes exhibitions and book fairs for redemption BB1M ensure that only the producers and suppliers of materials related to the book and educational tool only allowed to take part.

“Report to the authorities and legal action should be done if any of the parties still continue to take advantage through BB1M abuse,” he said.

MBIC represent associations in the book industry in Malaysia, the Malaysian Book Publishers Association (MABOPA), the Association of Book Publishers and Distributors Bumiputera Malaysia (PPPBBM), Malaysia Book Sellers Association (MBA), the Association of Exporters and Importers Books Malaysia (MBEIA), and Association Malaysia Book Contractors (PKBM).

1.3 million BB1M was distributed to tertiary level students and involve government expenditure of RM325 million.

Grant Voucher book is the government’s initiative to reduce the financial burden on students to purchase reference books and encourage reading community.