DBP row risks cutting school textbook supply

By G. Manimaran and Syed Mu’az Syed Putra, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, June 27 — An on-going row between Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) and printing company and distributor Dawama Sdn Bhd, which has escalated over the past week, could affect the supply of school textbooks for the 2012-2013 term.

The Malaysian Insider understands that the situation has reached a critical level whereby both parties are unable to meet face-to-face to resolve outstanding issues. DBP is an agency which is under the supervision of the Education Ministry.

A source told The Malaysian Insider that as a result, DBP faces a dilemma as it may not be able to supply school textbooks for the next school semester this August.

“The relationship between DBP and Dawama worsened last week when DBP editors were not allowed to enter Dawama’s office to edit and conduct final checks (on the books) before the material is printed. This has a never happened before,” said the source.

The source said the “cold war” started after DBP appointed another party to also print school textbooks, and that this could have “offended” Dawama.

Today is the deadline for DBP to submit the final manuscript for the school textbooks before the books are printed and distributed to schools nationwide.

Gerakan Darurat Bahasa (GDB) chairman Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid said he was aware of DBP’s current predicament.

“DBP seems to be in a dilemma, which started because of a one-sided printing and distributing agreement,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

Mohd Azmi said the government had no choice but to intervene.

The Malaysian Insider understands that the Dawama management team will be meeting the Education Ministry on Wednesday to discuss the on-going row with DBP.

It is understood that the bad blood between DBP and Dawama reached a critical level after DBP director Datuk Termuzi Abdul Aziz recently gave Dawama a deadline to buck up and overcome a decline in sales of DBP books and magazines over the past couple of years. 

In September 2002, Dawama was given the contract to print and market all books and magazines by DBP. It expires in 2014.

Termuzi declined to comment on the matter.