Abang Johari (fifth right) joined by Gabungan Parti Sarawak GPS leaders during ‘Lan Berambeh Anak Sarawak’ at Kuala Lumpur last year.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg believes that Sarawak must pull out all stops to provide the best education for its students.

In stressing this, he viewed that the state ought to do more than just provide scholarships through Yayasan Sarawak.

Something needs to be done to help Sarawakian graduates, who are unable to do so, repay their National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) loans.   

After the letdown by the Pakatan Harapan federal government which pledged to abolish PTPTN and promote free education as an election promise, Abang Johari knew that it was time for the state government to help Sarawakians.

“Give me six months to find the right mechanism to help you solve this problem (of repaying the PTPTN loans),” he said during Lan Berambeh Anak Sarawak 2019 last October.

During the tabling of the State 2020 Budget last November, he announced an allocation of RM30 million to help Sarawakian graduates repay their PTPTN loans.

Weeks later, it was revealed that the students would settle their loans with Yayasan Sarawak at a discounted fee after the state government repaid their loans in full to PTPTN.

Abang Johari with Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong and Datuk Len Talif Salleh pose for a photograph with students at the Sarawak Career and Training (SCaT) Fair. Photo: Ramidi Subari

“This means that our children are no longer dependent on PTPTN.

“Because if they do, their passports will be blocked, preventing them from travelling outside Malaysia,” he said at the time.

The move was well received and described by PTPTN borrowers as a reflection of the state government’s concern for the welfare of young Sarawakians.

Abang Johari (fifth right) joined by Gabungan Parti Sarawak GPS leaders during ‘Lan Berambeh Anak Sarawak’ at Kuala Lumpur last year.