KUCHING, Jan 21: Sarawak Energy Group is allocating a total of RM600,000 for educational incentives for the resettled communities of Bakun, Murum and Batang Ai through the Bakun Charitable Trust.
This was marked earlier today with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Sarawak Energy and the Bakun Charitable Trust, witnessed by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
The state energy provider had already provided RM200,000 each for the resettled communities of Batang Ai and Murum on an annual basis. Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), Sarawak Energy will provide an additional RM200,000 to the revolving fund to be placed under the care of the Trust to help to meet the specific educational needs of the Bakun Resettlement Scheme.
Abang Johari said the state government welcomed the education assistance and hoped the education and disciplines provided would not be confined to just a few.
“We have to look at other related disciplines that will definitely become the manpower resource to develop the whole area from the angle of economics, real estate, information technology (IT) and marketing.
“These are the areas that we have to promote to our students or those who have graduated but want to do Masters (degrees) and that with these new skills we can really develop holistically the region around Bakun, Baleh and Murum,” he said before the signing ceremony.
Sarawak Energy chairman Datuk Amar Abdul Hamed Sepawi said the MoU was built upon its partnership with the Bakun Charitable Trust since 2015, with the initial objective to have an annual revolving fund for the education of the Belaga Penan and Murum resettled communities.
“To build sustainable futures, we recognise the importance of education and literacy as a pathway for prosperity,” he said, highlighting that there has been a significant increase in school attendance and academic improvement among the target group of students since the parthership began.
“A total of 45 youths have enrolled for tertiary education and skills training; and 29 have graduated. They are now employed in various industries both in the state and in Peninsular Malaysia, with some opting to further their studies.
“In 2017, we extended this to the Batang Ai community. Currently, 48 students from the community are pursuing higher education under this fund,” he was speaking before the signing ceremony.
Sarawak Energy Group chief executive officer Datu Sharbini Suhaili and executive vice-president for corporate services Aisah Eden signed on behalf of Sarawak Energy. Bakun Charitable Trust was represented by its chairman Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing who is also Deputy Chief Minister, as well as Murum assemblyman Kennedy Chukpai Ugon.
The fund will be used to provide educational incentives to encourage academic excellence for primary and secondary school students from the area as well as financial aid for further studies at higher learning institutions. The fund will also be used for other educational development programme as well as to improve learning facilities to benefit the Kayan, Kenyah, Kajang and Penan communities in 15 longhouses in the Bakun Resettlement Scheme. — DayakDaily