SANDAKAN, May 5 — They may be isolated from the mainland, but the island folk of Pulau Berhala, here, have never been neglected especially when it comes to bread and butter matters such as education and basic necessities.
DAP candidate for the Sandakan parliamentary constituency by-election, Vivian Wong Shir Yee, in sharing her concerns with the islanders, assured them their children’s education will be made a focal point.
The 30-year-old youngest child of the incumbent, the late Datuk Stephen Wong Tien Fatt, said only education can change the lives of future generations for the better.
“It seems a lot needs to be done (on the island). I see happy children but being the future generation, are they getting sufficient education over here?”
“As we can see now, families on this island do not favour allowing their children to study in urban schools (on the mainland), and that is why we have plans for an education centre here,” she said when met at a ceramah on the island today.
Meanwhile, Wong said Pulau Berhala, which can be visited via a 45-minute boat ride, has much tourism potential.
As such, she hoped the islanders will help maintain cleanliness to woo more tourists over, which in turn will help generate the local economy.
Villager Saedin Makang, 29, was hopeful basic amenities such as water and electricity supply will be made available on the island.
Locals also have aspirations of having the same standards of living as those on the mainland, he said. Some 2,000 residents live on the island, the majority of whom are fishermen. — Bernama