The Education Ministry has no money to repair and maintain schools in Sarawak and that now appears to be a fact especially since the allocations for Sarawak and Sabah in Budget 2013 have been cut down to 20% of its previous amount.
In last October’s Budget 2013 announcement, education allocations for Sarawak and Sabah in 2013 stood at RM98 milllion. It was RM424 million in 2012.
If this sharp drop didn’t hit the folk here then, it has now.
SMK Bau, the oldest school in Bau, with 1,990 students and 550 borders, is in dire need of funds.
So adverse are the conditions in the school that poor rural parents worried about their children’s safety are doing their own repairs to the bunkers and lockers in the school.
How is Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin going to deal with the startling disclosure that numerous submissions by the school to his ministry for funds had elicited a negative response?
“It’s meaningless to these parents… it is near impossible for the rakyat in Bau to find meaning and truthfulness in the BN government’s slogan ‘People First, Performance now’ and ‘Janji Ditetapi’,” said Mas Gading PKR division member Boniface Willy Tumek.
Tumek said it was imperative that Muhyiddin find the money to do the needful for schools in Sarawak, especially SMK Bau.
“We are deeply disappointed with the attitude of Muhyiddin, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, towards rural schools in Sarawak and in particular, their insensitive attitude towards SMK Bau.
“We call upon Muhyiddin to immediately allocate sufficient funds to enable SMK Bau and all other schools in Sarawak to carry out urgent and necessary repair and maintenance works.”
Sarawak still ‘backward’
According to Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian, SMK Bau’s condition was was only a “tip of the iceberg”.
“Now we are talking about secondary schools. Last time we raised the conditions of primary schools in Sarawak. Despite getting to the 50th year in Malaysia, Sarawak has not gone very much up the ladder of development.
“Education is crucial for the development of the state. It is also crucial for the development of a community,” he said, adding that the state government should assist the federal government in education.
Rural schools, he said, if given the opportunity and better equipment and facilities, could excel in their performances or do even better than urban schools as shown by schools in Ba’Kelalan and Lubai Tengah in Limbang.
These schools had received awards and grants from the Commonwealth for their excellent performances, he said.
Bian was referring to SK Ba’Kelalan in Long Langai in the Ba’Kelalan highlands and SK Ulu Labai in Limbang which was awarded the 2009 Commonwealth Education Good Practice Awards beating 45 other schools from across the Commonwealth.