KUCHING: Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDSB) is questioning the sincerity of the federal government and the strategy employed by the state government to address the problem of dilapidated rural schools in Sarawak.
“The recent statement by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg with regards to his intention to meet with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today (yesterday) with regards to dilapidated schools in Sarawak seems rather surprising if one could recalled back the previous statement made by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing made last month.
“Every Sarawakian thought that the state government was supposed to be in the process of dealing with the dilapidated rural schools after the statement by Masing. Now suddenly, the Chief Minister wants to talk to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister on the long overdue matter instead? The late Chief Minister Pehin Sri Adenan Satem had even pursued the matter and sadly his wishes for rural schools did not prevailed either.
“If federal government were to provide the funding to repair all the dilapidated schools, they would had done so by now,” said the party through a press release yesterday. It also claimed that the dilapidated schools are in Dayak-majority areas.
PBDSB questioned whether Sarawakians were being misled by Masing who was reported by a local daily as saying last month that the state had decided ‘to take the bull by its horns’ to solve the poor overall standard of education in the state by using state funds to repair dilapidated schools and improve the facilities in schools.
“It does seem that way because the Chief Minister seems to be pleading to the federal government to assist the dilapidated rural schools instead of taking the bulls by the horn. What happen to DBOS (Development Bank of Sarawak) and the state funding its own development, and being financially independent and all that talk, if the result still shows that the state is still fully dependent on the federal government?
“This is rather confusing for Sarawakians, when both high authorities are not speaking the same language and not taking the same common actions towards the dilapidated rural schools issue.”
PBDSB claimed that as a Dayak party, they also did not see or hear comments from Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad with regards to the matter as well as it even being stipulated in the PH manifesto for Sarawak.
“It goes to show just how ‘sincere’ these Malayan political parties are for the well being of the Dayak communities in Sarawak. They only remember the Dayak as voters to vote for them to win the power of governance but they do not even bother with the Dayaks’ agendas and the issues the Dayak are facing. The Orang Asli are also being treated the same courtesy in Malaya.”
On Sept 2, Masing was reported as saying Sarawak government has decided to ‘take the bull by its horns’ to solve the poor overall standard of education in the state with state funds to repair the dilapidated schools and improve the facilities in schools as it could not afford to wait for federal funding to solve the problem.
On Sept 4, Masing was reported as saying in a statement that various circumstances such as changing demographic patterns have caused schools to be dilapidated by lowering enrolment, resulting in federal government not spending more funds on them and parents being reluctant to send their children to those schools, and thus, perpetuating a vicious cycle.