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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Feb 19: The Ministry of Education (MoE) today assured that diesel supply for 21 government-aided schools in Sarawak will continue and the operations of these schools will not be affected.
Its minister, Dr Maszlee Malik, clarified that news reports on the discontinuation of diesel supply for these 21 schools starting April 2019 were incorrect.
“It was a misunderstanding. The MoE will continue to supply diesel for the 21 schools,” he told reporters after paying a courtesy call on Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here today.
Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Micheal Manyin Jawong was also present.
Manyin chipped in to explain that the Education Department had received a letter last year with regards to the disruption of diesel supply for the 21 schools.
“But the issue has been cleared now. And on behalf of the state government, I want to thank the MoE for the assurance of diesel supply,” he said.
According to a press statement from MoE today, a review was conducted on the contracts in March last year to identify schools eligible to obtain the diesel supply through allocations from the federal government.
The ministry found out that 21 out of 369 schools were government-aided schools.
Even so, the MoE had decided to continue purchasing diesel for the 21 schools by utilising existing allocation until March 2019 for these schools, which are situated in remote and rural areas and are not connected to the electricity grid.
During the courtesy call, the state and federal governments discussed on finding solutions to dilapidated schools’ problems as well as encouraging more international students to pursue tertiary education in Sarawak.
“A few matters, including immigration for their (foreign students) entry into Sarawak, will be eased through collaboration with the state government,” said Maszlee.
Meanwhile, Manyin also expressed his gratitude to the MoE for the RM100 million allocation to address issues of dilapidated and critical schools in Sarawak, which were now parked with the Public Works Department (JKR) Sarawak.
“Projects for the schools using IBS (Industrialised Building System) can start anytime soon,” he revealed.
On the proposed policy to make compulsory for all Malaysian children to complete basic schooling (primary and secondary education) and parents would be punished for failing to ensure their child received an education, Maszlee said a study needed to be done as views from all sectors and stakeholders must be taken into account.
“When it comes to education, we want every child to complete basic schooling. However, in my view, punishment is not the focus,” he emphasised.
“The focus and priority are to ensure all children in Malaysia have the opportunity and easy access to not only education but receive a quality education.” — DayakDaily