MIRI: The Bible League (BL) and Borneo Evangelical Mission (BEM) Sarawak Centre’s joint effort to implement the English language programme beginning at primary school level, is in line with the Sarawak government’s policy of increasing English language proficiency among students in Sarawak.
Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) Deputy Speaker Datuk Gerawat Gala commended this action recently when attending the BL and BEM Sarawak dinner.
“In addition to implementing the English language as a teaching medium for science and mathematics subjects in all schools statewide, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has also given the approval and allocation to establish five international schools in Sarawak and one each in Samarahan, Serian, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri.
“This will provide an opportunity for deserving students who are not financially capable, especially students from rural schools, to attend Cambridge courses.
“This is the chief minister’s effort to improve the quality and achievements of Sarawak’s students for the future,” he said.
Gerawat further noted that at this point, only students from well-to-do families are able to attend elite schools.
“Hence, we thank Abang Johari who brought up this idea. So far, only Sarawak has taken this wise step in Malaysia,” he said.
The dinner was held to launch the English Language Education Programme for BEM Sarawak’s school students to be co-hosted by Bible League and BEM Centre across 23 BEM Sarawak districts.
Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau, BEM Sarawak president Rev Bina Agung, his deputy president Dr Henry Padin, secretary-general Stanley Sigar, and Bible League national director Rev Maurice Bilung, and 100 pastors as well as BEM Centre staff were present at the dinner.
Noting on the establishment of Unit for Other Religions (Unifor), Gerawat said that the state government also recognises the importance of churches in building a virtuous, ethical and moral community.
“These values are essential for building a united, harmonious and advanced community and state. Therefore, Unifor was set up in 2017 to help and care for the welfare and needs of other non-Islamic religious groups in Sarawak.
“This proves that the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government under Abang Johari’s leadership is not rhetoric about respecting and maintaining religious freedom in our state but proving it through action,” he said, adding Sarawak is the only state in Malaysia that has a special unit which takes care of other religions.
He added that the government wants to work with the churches to build a strong and progressive community and nation, therefore, it is imperative for both parties to work together to ensure the harmonious and close relationship for the future of the country.
At the event, Gerawat and Dennis both contributed RM24,000 in MRP allocation each to support the cooperation of the Bible League and the BEM Centre in the implementation of the English programme, especially among the primary school students in the Telang Usan and Mulu constituencies.
Such allocation will help BL print materials to be used in teaching the children since the tools such as computers and LCD projectors are limited in Ulu.
“We do not want any of our children be left behind to receive this good teaching. It is our shared efforts in building our children’s education especially in spiritual development,” he told.