No more delays in restoring S’wak’s education autonomy, Kota Sentosa rep urges unity govt

Wilfred Yap

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KUCHING, Jan 10: The current federal unity government must not delay any longer in addressing Sarawakians’ genuine grievances and be sincere in restoring Sarawak’s education autonomy, as enshrined in Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report, says Kota Sentosa assemblyman Wilfred Yap.

According to a press statement issued by Yap today, with the return of education autonomy to Sarawak, the State government, which understands the local situation and environment, will be able to serve Sarawakians with education policies that are better tailored for human capital development and workforce requirements for Sarawak’s overall progress and development.

“MA63 and the IGC Report are now integral parts of the Federal Constitution. The formation of Malaysia in 1963 provided safeguards to protect the rights and privileges of the people of Sarawak through a series of IGC Reports which formed the basis of MA63. And, education autonomy was one of the rights accorded to Sarawak,” he said.

He asserted that over time, however, the federal government gradually diluted and eroded Sarawak’s right to autonomy in education to the point where it became a federal government-only matter.

“It is also important for Sarawakians to remember that during the negotiations leading to the formation of Malaysia, Sarawak clearly stated in Point 15 of the 18-Point Agreement that the existing education system of Borneo (Sabah and Sarawak) should be maintained and, as such, should be under State control,” he added.

Yap said decentralisation and the restoration of autonomy in education has long been the wish and aspiration of Sarawakians.

He also expressed hope that the recent announcement on education autonomy is not just superficial and cosmetic in nature, such as only devolution of administrative powers for faster implementation of federal government policies and infrastructure projects, but must include real powers for the Sarawak government to make policy decisions on education and implementation of those policies by the State government through continued and adequate federal government funding. — DayakDaily