By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Sept 8: If a student in Kuala Lumpur has access to 4G Internet for learning, the same facility should be given to rural students in Sarawak.
Similarly, if one teacher caters for 30 students in Kuala Lumpur, the same standard should also be applied to Sarawak.
Highlighting this, Senator Susan Chemerai Anding reminded Parliament that the federal government is responsible for implementing development for health and education as enshrined in the Federal Constitution and Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) so long as the autonomy is not granted to Sarawak.
“In implementing development, the federal government should practise equality and fairness in terms of education, health, employment opportunities, finance, business, and access to government administrative and services and more.
“High cost should not be used as an excuse, because the evaluation and principle of fairness and equality require us as a government to bear the cost to achieve a fair and equitable education system that is the core of the vision of common prosperity,” she pointed out in her debate on the Royal Address in Parliament today.
Thus, Susan said there should not be shortage or lack in facilities to be enjoyed by students in Sarawak as well.
Otherwise, she added that it would mean that a child’s learning needs in the rural areas of Sarawak was less valuable than the learning needs of a child on the peninsula.
“Ideally, all these shortcomings should be included in the planning for the next 10 to 15 years so that equality in learning can be achieved,” she said.
This principle, she continued, should also apply in other provisions and sectors such as health.
“For example, the ratio of one doctor to 150 residents, this should be applied to Sarawak as well or at best, we have the same ratio,” she added.
Nevertheless, Susan expressed relief to see many issues and matters on hold in the past had been dealt with including the imposition of State Sales Tax on oil and gas products.
“We are relieved that with the change in power at the federal level, the relationship between Sarawak and the federal government has been restored and improved.
“The setting up of a new portfolio in the Prime Minister’s Department to take care of Sabah and Sarawak shows the commitment and concerns of the federal government over the MA63 issue,” she said.
Susan hopes that it will ensure the unbalanced development between Peninsula and Sabah and Sarawak will be reviewed, corrected and rectified.
She suggested the federal government come out with a ‘catch-up plan’ specifically for Sabah and Sarawak so that the development gap between East and West Malaysia can be closed and development can be accelerated in a more structured and targeted manner. — DayakDaily