KOTA KINABALU, Dec 9 — The Sabah State Legislative Assembly today passed a motion to amend the Government Trust Funds Enactment 1964 to establish the Sabah State Trust Fund.

Tabled by Chief Minister Datuk Hajiji Noor and supported by Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak (BN-Usukan) the motion was aimed at allocating funds for the education of the Sabah people.

Hajiji said the fund will act as a sponsoring body especially for Sabah students to pursue their studies at higher education institutes.

The state finance minister said those born in Sabah are eligible to receive the assistance regardless of ethnicity, race and religion, adding that the state Finance Ministry permanent secretary will chair the trust fund.

“I give my assurance that the fund will be managed in compliance with financial regulations, that this fund will help students to pay for their study expenses from certificate to degree, student’s activities management fee and any expenses approved by the implementing committee.

Organisations and individuals who contribute to the trust fund will get tax exemption, Hajiji added.

Meanwhile, when debating the motion, Opposition leader Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (Warisan-Senallang) said efforts to provide education to Sabahans should not depend too much on government allocations alone.

He said oil companies conducting petroleum exploration activities in Sabah such as Petronas and Shell should channel assistance to the fund to benefit more Sabahans. 

In addition, he said students who will receive assistance under the initiative should also undertake courses that match the needs and requirements of the current job market. — Bernama