By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Dec 20: Dyslexia Association of Sarawak is still short of RM2.5 million for the building of a new Learning and Resource Centre at Desa Wira, Batu Kawa, to help and serve more children with learning disabilities.
Currently, the association is operating at Banglo Kalaka, a government quarters in Lorong Maxwell 2, with only two classrooms.
The proposed new centre, estimated to cost RM3.5 million, would have three floors with 10 classrooms, office, staff room and a multipurpose hall, while a hostel will be part of its phase 2 expansion plan to cater to children outside of Kuching.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg thus, appealed to the private sector, corporate and philanthropists to help the association realise its dream of having its own building.
“We invite corporate bodies and philanthropists to sponsor the construction and furnishing of one classroom at the cost of RM60,000. The classroom would be named after the sponsor or any other name as the sponsor wishes.
“It cannot be denied that the association is one of the many organisations that have helped the Sarawak government in education and welfare matters of children with special needs,” he said at the earth breaking ceremony of the new centre here today.
His text-of-speech was read by Assistant Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dr Annuar Rapaee.
According to Abang Johari, international research showed that between five to 15 per cent of the general population have dyslexia, while a research conducted by Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), involving Year Three pupils in 10 schools in Kuching, found that the prevalence rate was at six per cent.
“Awareness about dyslexia, identification of problems and knowing that early effective intervention is vital can help to reduce the learning gap before the problem become more profound and entrenched,” he said.
“Dyslexia is not a disease and it is not a brain disorder. The word dyslexia derived from the Greek word, in which ‘dys’ means difficulty and ‘lexia’ means language. It means difficulty in learning language or words and as such impairing the ability to read, write, spell and count,” he continued.
However, Abang Johari said problems that prevent learning can be corrected with early intervention to avoid serious implications on dyslexic people especially children in school.
“Children with signs of dyslexia must be diagnosed as early as possible so they will not be neglected, slipped through the cracks, at risk of dropping out from school and left behind,” he added.
In facing the challenges of the digital era, Abang Johari reiterated that the state government continues to be committed in the development of high quality human capital including children with special needs who are also a great asset to the state.
He said every person is an important manpower in realising the socioeconomic transformation towards digital economy, which will move Sarawak towards achieving a high income state by 2030.
Batu Kitang assemblyman Lo Khere Chiang and Association founding president Dr Ong Puay Hoon were present. — DayakDaily