Dr Annuar Rapaee

KUCHING: Sarawak has the right to use English as the medium of instruction in schools, said Education, Science and Technological Research Assistant Minister Dr Annuar Rapaee.

The Nangka assemblyman told an online portal on Wednesday that this right was stipulated under the Inter-Governmental Committee Report (IGC) Report 1962 which was a basis for the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

“We’ve never agreed to change this policy ever since we formed Malaysia. Therefore, it must be respected that Sarawak can use English (as the medium of instruction in schools).

“Because of that, we still consider English as our second official language,” he was quoted as saying in response to an academic who said the setting up of state-owned international schools in Sarawak was against the Education Act.

Dr Annuar said Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Teo Kok Seong, who made the statement should have done more research before commenting on the matter.

Pointing out that the use of English as a medium of instruction in schools was to improve the standard of education in the state, the assistant minister said, “Our international school will be run by a company owned by Yayasan Sarawak and the funds will be from the state government. This doesn’t contravene the Education Act.”

He added that it would not be an issue for the state-run international schools to use English as they would not be using the national syllabus but an international curriculum similar to other private schools in the country.

The Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) vice president said Sarawak had long become the “step-son” in education, pointing out the declining standard of education as well as the “grossly substandard” facilities in the state.

“Give the state government a chance to improve all these unless you want to see Sarawak still lagging behind despite our huge natural resources and major role in the nation’s GDP,” he said.