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KUCHING, Dec 4: Sarawak Energy has widened its social investment initiatives to support education needs of youths in rural Sarawak by contributing to a special fund dedicated to the community at Batang Ai, site of Sarawak’s first hydropower project.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) signifying this collaborative partnership aimed at improving the communities’ employment prospects and socio-economic progress through a strong foundation in good education was inked today.
Signing for Sarawak Energy were its Group Chief Executive Officer Sharbini Suhaili and Executive Vice-President for Corporate Services Aisah Eden, who was represented by Assistant General Manager for Corporate Social Responsibility Jiwari Abdullah, while signing for Bakun Charitable Trust were its chairman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing who is also Deputy Chief Minister and Malcom Mussen Lamoh, Assistant Minister for Industries and Investment and also Batang Ai assemblyman.
The MoU expands Sarawak Energy’s contribution to an existing annual revolving fund that has helped the Penan community in Belaga and those directly affected by the Murum Hydroelectric Plant. Both funds are parked under the Bakun Charitable Trust given the latter’s experience in managing education funds.
At the signing, Sarawak Energy presented a cheque of RM200,000 to kickstart the Batang Ai special fund and topped up another RM200,000 for the third consecutive year for the revolving fund.
The Batang Ai allocation will also be replenished yearly with the partnership to be reviewed after three years. It aims to enhance the quality of primary and secondary learning in the area and motivate students to work towards and obtain tertiary education qualifications for better employability.
The schools which stand to benefit from the fund are SMK Lubok Antu, SK Nanga Delok, SK Ulu Engkari, SK Nanga Tibu, SK Sbangki, SK Skarok and SK Batang Ai. For tertiary education, the beneficiary communities consist of 48 longhouses from the resettled, host and upstream communities in Batang Ai.
Commenting on the partnership, Sharbini said: “We are committed to developing strategic initiatives and partnerships that will help drive capability development in the state, especially in areas and for communities directly affected by our projects. Our partnership with Bakun Charitable Trust goes back to an MoU signed in 2015.
“Today’s MoU extends our collaboration with Bakun Charitable Trust to benefit the communities in Batang Ai, in line with their aspiration. We hope to work proactively with our stakeholders and expand the benefit of this social investment initiative to our first hydropower fenceline community.
Also present were Belaga assemblyman Datuk Liwan Lagang; Murum assemblyman Kennedy Chukpai Ugon and Azmi Bujang, Yayasan Sarawak Director as well as Sarawak Energy’s senior management team. — Dayak Daily