Sarawak appeals against ban on GPS lawmakers speaking at school events

Manyin (lower left) listening to Chang as she raised a point in the august House.

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Nov 12: Sarawak government is appealing to the Education Ministry (MoE) to withdraw their decision to limit state elected representatives from carrying out activities and programmes in schools throughout Sarawak.

Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong pointed out that the state government had contributed so much to schools in the state and thus viewed the decision to ban elected Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) members from giving speeches when attending schools’ programmes as unfair.

“The state Education Department has not received and is still waiting for a written circular over the matter.

“In fact, the Education Department had met with the secretary-general of MoE and confirmed that the decision came from the federal cabinet,” he told a press conference at the DUN Complex today.

Earlier during Manyin’s winding-up speech, Tasik Biru assemblyman Datuk Henry Harry Jinep had interjected to seek clarification on the matter after informing the august House that he had received a text message from a headmaster that his visit for a school’s programme was not approved by the Education Department.

Referring to the pending circular, Henry then questioned whether they should continue giving Minor Rural Project (MRP) and Rural Transformation Programme (RTP) funds to schools since they were under the federal government.

Manyin advised against this form of retaliation as Sarawakian children will suffer.

“Despite the text message, YBs (elected representatives) can continue to visit schools and are most welcomed to contribute funds to the schools,” he said.

Bukit Assek assemblywoman Irene Chang also raised an issue with Manyin over being rejected several times from adopting a school to carry out education programmes.

“We don’t know what is happening in the circular as well. But this has been happening before the new government; we have been rejected over and over again even when assuring them (state government) that there will be nothing political but only to help the children,” she said.

Manyin replied: “I would not be able to answer for things that happened in 2017. This Ministry was established on May 7, 2017. I don’t have authority and any information regarding that.”

The Education Department, he reiterated, was directly under the federal government’s purview.

“If I am not informed, I won’t be able to know,” he said. — DayakDaily