Kho: Can Pakatan Harapan take care of all the schools in Sarawak?

SUPP women chief Kho Teck Wan.

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KUCHING, Dec 5: The Pakatan Harapan-led federal government has been told to look beyond their agenda and put politicking aside when it comes to school funding and visitations.

Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Women’s chief Kho Teck Wan said without the state ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) representatives, could Pakatan ensure that all schools in Sarawak would be taken care of by its 10 elected representatives?

She asked whether the 10 Pakatan lawmakers could visit, channel funding and report about issues facing the over 1,600 schools in Sarawak from Lundu to Lawas.

“Traditionally, most schools, especially in the rural areas, have received some form of funding from the local YBs through their allocation or Rural Transformation Programme funds.

“Apart from the urban schools, which are under Pakatan YBs for over a decade, the rural schools’ administrations have good relationship with the local GPS YBs through their donations and collaboration over the years,” she said in a statement.

She added that the announcement of restricting GPS elected representatives at schools greatly reduced the school’s access to resources, as most schools in Sarawak fell under the area of GPS lawmakers.

“In my opinion, the victims of such restriction at school are the school children and their administrators.

“With all the heated discussions around the subject of schools, I would like to know how the Ministry of Education assesses the impact of their decisions made so far on the schools’ administration and the students.

“In my humble opinion there are no winners when education becomes the subject of political agenda,” she continued.

Kho was referring to the restrictions imposed on state ruling GPS when visiting any government schools, as informed by the Education Ministry.

She also took a swipe at the federal funding to Tunku Abdul Rahman university college (TAR UC) fiasco between MCA and Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng following the announcement of the 2020 national budget.

“The victim of such argument are the TAR UC students who may eventually face the possibility of having to pay higher tuition fees due to lack of funding. Many may even lose the opportunity to pursue higher education due to the increased cost of education,” she said.

In the latest round of sniping between the two parties over government funds for the higher learning institute, MCA has been asked to explain why party leaders had taken all the seats on the board of trustees of the MCA-owned TAR university college

DAP, in a statement issued by its secretary-general’s office, said MCA president Wee Ka Siong should explain the composition, which did not comply with the requirement of at least 50 per cent of the trustees being independent and not connected to MCA.

MCA has been fighting for government allocation of TAR university and TAR college after its funding was slashed from RM5.5 million in Budget 2019 to RM1 million in the 2020 budget for development purposes.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Pakatan chairman Chong Chieng Jen denied that state and federal lawmakers from GPS were prohibited from visiting schools on official business.

In a statement yesterday, the Stampin MP said they could visit the schools after the state Education Department gave permission to the principals and headmasters to allow entry of any lawmakers to enter the schools.

Chong said the rule also applied to Pakatan lawmakers.

He added that there were 515 permissions granted to GPS and Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) lawmakers compared to 170 permissions granted to state Pakatan lawmakers to enter schools to officiate events over the past one year. —DayakDaily