MR. MUHAMMAD MUHAIMIN RASIDI
LONG-TERM DELEGATE OF MALAYSIA
TO THE 75TH SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE UNITED NATIONS
AT THE INTERACTIVE DIALOGUE WITH THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON THE RIGHT TO EDUCATION
NEW YORK, 21 OCTOBER 2020
Thank you, Mr Chair.
Malaysia thanks the Special Rapporteur for her report and presentation.
2. The focus on interrelations between the right to education and the rights to water and sanitation is encouraging. We agree with the Special Rapporteur that the staggering number of children lacking access to basic drinking water service in school, sanitation and hand-washing services deserves the attention of the international community. Such access is even more crucial now amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.
3. Malaysia recognises the importance of education in providing a foundation for nation building and sustainable economic growth. This recognition is clear in our efforts to achieve a high-income nation status by 2025. The Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025 is currently being implemented in tandem with the Sustainable Development Goal 4, towards ensuring universal access to education.
4. In the context of our discussion today, I wish to share that learning institutions in Malaysia, both in formal and informal settings, are required by law to prioritise safety, health and cleanliness with adequate access to basic amenities such as water and sanitation. These are also pre-requisites for the registration approval for Alternative Learning Centres, which are educational institutions managed by Civil Society Organizations for children of refugees and migrants. Government efforts to ensure quality education is provided to all in a holistic manner and conducive environment, including students with special needs as well as those from vulnerable groups.
5. Malaysia’s commitment to these issues is clear. To illustrate this, the Malaysian Government has hosted both mandates. The Special Rapporteur on Right to Education visited Malaysia in 2007 and Special Rapporteur on Water and Sanitation in 2018. The outcomes of these visits have contributed positively to Malaysian stakeholders. Moving forward, the water sector transformation initiative under the 12th Malaysian Plan (2021-2026) will ensure that every community has access to safe drinking water and sanitation, in line with the principle of shared prosperity. We will continue to consult relevant UN agencies and officials in our effort to improve and strengthen the existing policies and initiatives on these issues, for appropriate implementation.
6. We thank the Special Rapporteur for the recommendations presented in the report. The argument put forth by the Special Rapporteur on the link between the right to education and the rights to water and sanitation is an interesting one. Her report acknowledges the difficulty in determining the extent to which failure to implement the right to education, is due to a failure to ensure access to water and sanitation in educational institutions. We would like to know her plans on how she intends to move forward on this issue, to strengthen the argument with regard to the interrelations between the right to education and the rights to water and sanitation, so as to obtain the buy-in and support from all stakeholders.
I thank you, Mr. Chair.