Pending rep questions presence of Indonesian schools in oil palm estates

Sarawak Legislative Assembly Sitting, November 2017

KUCHNG, Nov 10: Hundreds of schools in the interior of Sarawak are categorised as critically dilapidated but the state government allows Indonesian community learning centres (CLCs) in various oil palm estates, claimed Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong, today.

In her budget debate, Yong said there are 16 CLCs in Sarawak, with proper amenities which include canteens, sports areas and hostels.

“The state government allows the Indonesian schools to be set up in our homeland and taught by their own teachers with Indonesian education syllabus and singing their own national anthem, flying the Indonesian flag and wearing their own school uniforms. The so-called “Community Learning Centre” is actually a proper school. These Indonesian schools are run in a systematic matter. Ironically, the Indonesian leaders’ portraits are hung on the wall of every classroom,” she said.

“And yet, what is happening to our own schools? State Education, Science and Technological Minister Datuk Seri Micheal Manyin Jawong admitted that our own schools are in dire need of urgent repairs which requires RM4 billion but were only given RM1 billion by the federal government,” she added.

Given such unjust treatment, Yong said Sarawakians in the interior must be envious to see the Indonesian government taking good care of their own citizens’ children, making sure that despite the Indonesia children living in foreign countries, they have access to proper education in a conducive environment.

Urging for an explanation on the state government’s rationale in allowing Indonesian schools to sprout up, Yong added that working permits issued by the Immigration Department for Indonesian laborers to work in Sarawak, especially plantation workers, do not allow these workers to bring along their families to enter and stay comfortably in the state.

“The Sarawak government keeps talking about Sarawak’s autonomous power but you failed to stop such schools from sprouting and keep giving in to illegal immigrants (who) make Sarawak their home. I am not denying the Indonesian children from receiving education. If the Indonesian expatriates’ children want to study and their entry to Sarawak is legal, then they should go to our national school or private schools.

“Are we not worried that these foreign children, most of whom have no valid documentation to stay in Sarawak, are here and more Indonesian schools (have been) allowed to grow; what will happen in the future?” Yong asked. — DayakDaily