By Nur Ashikin Louis
KUCHING, May 30: The Sarawak government now fully owns four higher education institutions and one training centre in the State, says Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.
The learning institutions are Swinburne University, Curtin University, University of Technology Sarawak (UTS), and i-Cats University College, while the training centre is the Centre of Technical Excellence Sarawak (Centexs).
“We have taken over the assets of Swinburne University, we have 100 per cent of trust asset of Curtin University, we have UTS in Sibu, and we had also upgraded iCats into a university college. Additionally, we have also enhanced Centexs as a training centre.
“The next step is to fill up our universities. Then, if our revenue increases, we will provide support in terms of scholarships,” he said when speaking at the Amanah Khairat Yayasan Budaya Melayu Sarawak’s (AKYBMS) SAMArindok Aidilfitri event held at a hotel earlier tonight.
Abang Johari, who is also Yayasan Sarawak chairman, further said that he had approved a bursary for Bumiputera students, especially those from the B40 group, to enrol in higher education institutions.
He was also made to understand by the UTS vice-chancellor that the enrolment of rural students into universities has recorded a threefold increase.
“If our revenue increases, we will also extend scholarships to non-Bumiputera students from less fortunate families.
“This will reflect inclusivity where we are just to all communities as long as we have the money,” he added.
At the same time, Abang Johari also touched on the State government’s intention to venture into the carbon trade industry. According to scientists, he explained that mangrove forests could store up to three times more carbon.
“Coincidentally, the mangrove areas are where we plant sago and nipah. This is where we produce methane gas and gula apong (for commercialisation).
“Apart from that, we can also cultivate algae often found along the coastal areas. When we combine algae with carbon dioxide, we can produce biofuel, which is the energy used by aeroplanes in the future,” he elaborated.
Thus, he called upon Sarawakians, especially the Malay communities living in the coastal areas, to send their children to higher education institutions to tap into the field (of algae cultivation) and increase the existing economic resources today. — DayakDaily