By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Sept 28: The proposed Yayasan Sarawak International Secondary Schools do not fall under the Education Act 1996 as they are not government schools, said Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong.
Such Act, he said, only applies to government secondary schools.
“The proposed Yayasan Sarawak International Secondary Schools are not government schools within the definition of the Act. They are private schools as they will be owned and operated by a company just like most of the other private international schools that are currently operating in Malaysia.
“Thus, the statements by the professor relating to the requirements under Education Act 1996 do not apply to these schools,” Manyin told a news conference at his office at Bangunan Baitul Makmur here today.
He was rebutting the recent statement made by Professor Teo Kok Seng of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) who had cautioned that the proposal by the Sarawak government to set up international schools goes against the provisions of Act.
Teo had said that under the Act, all government schools must use Bahasa Malaysia as the medium of instruction.
Manyin reiterated that the Sarawak State government was able to proceed with the implementation of the Sarawak International School after it had obtained the necessary back up letter from the Ministry of Education (MOE) dated July 17, 2020.
“The earth breaking ceremony for the first school was done only after obtaining a letter of support from the Ministry of Education. In this letter of support, it is clearly stated that Sanjung Services Sdn Bhd has fulfilled all the: “….syarat-syarat penubuhan sekolah antarabangsa yang di tetapkan KPM (MOE),” said Manyin.
He pointed out that that Sarawak is a law abiding state and that it took extra care to ensure that all initiatives and programmes that it undertakes do not contravene the laws of the country.
“We have studied the relevant laws and have had extensive engagements with the MOE and have complied with the requirements of the Ministry in every step of the process of setting up these schools,” he said.
Manyin pointed out that in making the decision to set up these schools, the Sarawak government has considered the following factors: the responsibility of the State to protect its rights as regards its education policies as stated in paragraph 17 of the Inter-Governmental Committee Report, 1962 (IGC Report) as follows: “ … although Education, item 13(a) of the Federal list in the Ninth Schedule will be a Federal subject, the present policy and system of administration of education in North Borneo and Sarawak should be undisturbed and remain under the control of the Government of the State until that government otherwise agrees.
“In particular; the present policy in the Borneo States regarding the use of English should continue; ….” The State government has never departed from this policy,” he asserted.
He also stressed that Section 15 of the Education Act 1996 (Act 550) does not include education in international schools.
“These schools to be set up are international schools and are to be owned and maintained by Sanjung Services Sdn Bhd, a private company registered under the Companies Act 2006. Sanjung Services Sdn Bhd is a subsidiary of Yayasan Sarawak.
“Thus, the statements by the professor relating to the requirements under the Education Act 1996 do not apply to these schools. To reiterate the above, the proposed Yayasan Sarawak International Secondary Schools are not government schools within the definition of the Act,” Manyin said.
Meanwhile, Manyin said the curriculum of these Sarawak International Schools would be based on the standard of the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.
He added that the final curriculum, co-curriculum and extra-curriculum would be finalised by the end of the month but assured that the Bahasa Malaysia subject would be offered in these schools to meet the demand of the Malaysian public universities’ requirement if the students of these schools were to opt for local public universities.
The first of these five Yayasan Sarawak International Schools is expected to be operational by 2022 with an initial student population of 500, starting with Form One.
Besides the one located at Mile 12 Kuching-Serian Road, Kuching is expected to have another one, and the remaining three would be built in Sibu, Bintulu and Miri.
Each of these school would cost between RM40 million-RM45 million to implement and extra funding to run the school.-DayakDaily
Below is the full text of Manyin’s speech :