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KUCHING, Nov 16 — Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg has said the state government will be spending RM82 million next year to make good rundown schools, including the provision of clean water and electricity for the benefit of students and teachers alike.
He said this is because the state government does not want to be accused of neglecting schools, particularly those in the rural areas, anymore.
“Therefore, we are taking the initiative to repair dilapidated schools ourselves, using our own funds, but it does not mean that the federal government is relieved of its duty to ensure that education facilities are in good condition,” he said.
Speaking at a dinner to raise funds for St Teresa Secondary School’s rebuilding project here tonight, the chief minister said that Putrajaya should not shy away from its responsibility to provide quality facilities for students and teachers since education is a federal matter.
He said what is more disheartening is that there is no specific mention in the national Budget 2019 that the federal government is setting aside any allocation to repair and rebuild the 1,020 dilapidated schools found across Sarawak.
He said Sarawak can no longer rely on the federal government to decide its destiny, adding that for the last 55 years “we have more or less let others chart our future because we thought we could trust them”.
He said from now on, Sarawakians, students in particular, must acquire new knowledge to the highest possible level so they can contribute effectively and meaningfully to the state’s development.
“We must help ourselves and stop relying entirely on others to help us,” he said, adding that Yayasan Sarawak has increased its capacity to send more students to study both locally and abroad in pursuit of new knowledge up to doctorate level.
The state government contributed RM1.5 million out of the RM3.2 million which has been raised for St Teresa Secondary School so far.
Tender for phase one involving the construction of an administrative and classroom block will be called next month and is expected to be completed within a year.