KUCHING, Jan 9: Batu Kitang assemblyman Lo Khere Chiang says that Sarawak is being treated like an unwanted stepson.
He said the federal government had been raking in RM15 billion annually from Sarawak’s oil and gas and yet it was reluctant to give Sarawak money for the maintenance of federal roads and schools.
“The federal government has been reaping RM15 billion from us annually from oil and gas, but when it comes to giving back, they are so tight-fisted.
“We are indeed being treated like an unwanted stepson,” said Lo in a statement yesterday, stressing that the federal government had failed in its duty to help schools in Sarawak.
Lo, who is also Padawan Municipal Council chairman, said federal allocation for education had been inconsistent, and schools like SK Garland, a mission school, received very little funds for its operational expenses every year.
“This causes a lot of inconveniences for the school authority to run properly. Money is needed at the beginning of every year to enable the management to run the school,” he said.
Lo also noted that federal ministers lacked interest in making Sarawak better.
“And how many of their Malayan leaders have come over to see how we fare? It is obvious that the federal government has failed in her duty to look after education in Sarawak.
“Since the federal government is unable to take care of Sarawak’s schools and education, it is high time we get back our state autonomy on education and health as promised by Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng and Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen in their messages to the people of Sarawak before GE14 (14th general election in May 2018).
“Actually, we have a lot of talented people in Sarawak. We do not need Malaya to siphon our wealth out and leave us high and dry. We can certainly take care of our own Sarawak better than Malaya can. Just leave it to us and we show you,” said Lo.
To DAP Socialist Youth secretary Abdul Aziz Isa’s statement that Lo had no empathy towards government schools’ maintenance, Lo said Aziz should be the one to be educated as the latter must learn that the upkeep of government schools comes under the federal government.
“I want to remind Aziz that it is not about empathy but more of obligation and responsibility. Why is the federal government neglecting Sarawak schools just like the grass-cutting along federal roads?”
“Why did they not simply channel some of that money they have taken from Sarawak to give back to schools? Talk about empathy!” Lo shot back.
He said he and Batu Kawah assemblyman Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian had given SK Garland RM10,000 for school maintenance and activities.
“In 2017, I also contributed RM300,000 via my RTP (Rural Transformation Programme) funds to assist SK Garland to upgrade a drain to improve the flow of water as well as a road leading to the school.
“Now that Aziz has given out some funds, he is shouting at the top of his voice for all to hear. Why should he? It is the federal’s duty to do so. He is indeed childish. What has he got to shout about when we have been helping backstage all these years?” said Lo. — DayakDaily