Financial package to address Sarawak’s education issues – DPM

SIBU: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s two-day working visit here which ended yesterday offered some good news for education in Sarawak, reported Bernama yesterday.

Amongst others, it was announced the Education Ministry and state government would formulate proposals and create an effective financial package to address issues related to education in the state.

Zahid told reporters at Sibu International Airport yesterday the proposals would be submitted to the Economic Council in October, which will be chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He also said the relevant measures were discussed at the coordination meeting on aging schools in Sarawak which he chaired last night.

He noted that only 29.9 per cent of the schools in Sarawak were conducive for learning and that out of the 1,454 schools in the state, 1,020 were run-down with 395 categorised as dilapidated school 1 (DS1), 210 as DS2 and 415 as DS3.

He said other issues discussed during the coordination meeting were, insufficient number of pupils in certain schools, and water and electricity supply.

Meanwhile, Zahid said the federal government approved 300 school redevelopment projects in the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP).

“At the same time, approval has been given for the construction of 183 schools in the second Rolling Plan under the 11MP based on the industrialised building system (IBS) approach, with an allocation of RM366 million.

“Throughout 2016 and this year, 50 dilapidated schools have been and are being rebuilt by the Education ministry using IBS at a cost of RM153.3 million,” he said.

Of the 50 schools, he said, 23 had been completed, while 27 were under construction, including four schools being built by the Public Works Department.

He also acknowledged that the Sarawak government had made the issue of run-down schools its priority and raised relevant matters in the State Cabinet on Aug 24, for proactive steps to be taken.