BETONG, Oct 2 — Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg today said he has asked Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to grant Sarawak autonomy over education in the state.
He said this will enable Sarawak to have proper planning for education infrastructure such as standard school buildings and teachers’ quarters.
“That is why I have informed the prime minister to give education autonomy to Sarawak. We want to implement school projects and education development in the state,” he said at the opening of RM34 million SK Meludam that was funded by the state government.
“We know what we want to do on education, unlike the federal government which keeps on changing policies with a change of education ministers. We want a consistent policy and we want good school infrastructure,” he said.
He said the state government was forced to build some rural schools that were not safe for the students and teachers, as the federal government had not allocated funds.
He said that apart from SK Meludam, the state government also built new school buildings for SK Penasu in Sibu, SK Ulu Segan in Bintulu and SK Merpati Jepang in Kuching.
“I went to SMK Simunjan. I was informed by the state Public Works Department that students and teachers were not allowed to enter three school blocks that were in bad condition.
“The floor of the school also sank,” he said.
He said he ordered the three blocks to be demolished and the state government will allocate funds for the new blocks.
Abang Johari said he expressed shock that a school in Gedong used containers as classrooms because school buildings were in bad shape.
“Whether we like it or not, the schools need to be demolished and let the state government put up new school blocks,” he said.
“We want our children to study in a conducive atmosphere,” he said.
He said funding for school projects should come under the federal government as provided for under the Federal Constitution.
Abang Johari said the bad condition of school buildings will demotivate the spirit of the teachers as well as students.
“That why I have informed the central government that you have to have strategic ideas when you want to implement education policy,” he said.