Premier to announce funding for dilapidated schools, ‘rumah manok’ teachers’ quarters tonight

Abang Johari (third right) places his palm on a sphere when officiating the Sarawak Education Awards 2024 at CIDB Kuching on June 22, 2024.
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By Marlynda Meraw and Karen Bong

KUCHING, June 22: Tonight, Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg will announce the allocation for education, focusing particularly on upgrading dilapidated schools and improving ‘rumah manok’-like (chicken coop) teachers’ quarters in Sarawak.

He is expected to emphasise these initiatives during his speech at the Sarawak Gawai Dayak 2024 gala dinner at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK), where Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will also be present.

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Highlighting the critical state of dilapidated schools in Sarawak, Abang Johari recalled his experience at SK Ulu Segan in Kemena, Bintulu, before it was transformed into a spacious and modern institution following a RM26 million reconstruction to provide a conducive environment for both educators and students.

“Even the teachers’ quarters (in some rural schools) are in bad condition. Young teachers who have just graduated must have high expectations, but when they come to the school and see the teacher quarters… some like ‘rumah manok’ (chicken coop).

“How can that be? They are supposed to be motivated to become teachers, but the condition of the quarters is demotivating them. That’s why I immediately approved the upgrading of the school with Sarawak’s own fund,” he said when addressing the Sarawak Education Awards 2024 held at Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) Kuching today.

Abang Johari reiterated his commitment to using Sarawak’s resources to upgrade schools, even if it means initiating projects independently pending federal reimbursement.

Recently, during an event in Samarahan, Abang Johari mentioned that he had raised the matter of dilapidated schools with the federal government and stressed the urgency of collaborative solutions.

“The problem with dilapidated schools in Sarawak has always been there; why can’t we find a solution? With the presence of all stakeholders then, I said why not we work together. If the federal has financial constraints, I said Sarawak will come out with the funding first. It is not that we are overly rich, but if Sarawak has the capability now, why not? The federal can pay back later,” he explained.

The Prime Minister has acknowledged that Sarawak is the first in the nation to lead in financing school improvements, with the federal government giving assurance to reimburse the Sarawak government in due course.

“If we have the means financially, why not? This is what we need to do for in ensuring a better future for our children,” he pointed out.

Minister of Education, Innovation, and Talent Development Sarawak Dato Sri Roland Sagah Wee Inn and Deputy Minister of Talent Development Sarawak Datuk Francis Harden Hollis were among those present at today’s event. — DayakDaily

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