BY NATASHA JEE & SARAH HAFIZAH CHANDRA
KUCHING: Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) will continue to protect the rights of Sarawak over education in accordance with the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report 1962.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said as the state government had never ever amended or caused to amend any part of the report the state still has the right to set up its five international schools that will use Cambridge syllabus instead of the national one.
“One professor said that we have breached the law. We said no, our IGC Report is very clear that the present system should continue unless it is decided otherwise by the State Legislative Assembly (DUN).
“But that report remains unchanged until today. So, GPS will protect that system,” he said during the launch of a new headquarters for the Dayak Cultural Foundation (DCF) and Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) at Jalan Ong Tiang Swee today.
Paragraph 17 of the IGC Report states, “… although Education, item 13(a) of the Federal list in the Ninth Schedule will be a Federal subject; the present policy and system of administration of education in North Borneo and Sarawak should be undisturbed and remain under the control of the Government of the State until that government otherwise agrees.”
Abang Johari reiterated that the purpose of setting up the international schools was to provide quality education for bright students especially those from less fortunate families.
“We want to develop our young talents. That is why the international schools are going to be built. We do not want our children to only be ‘jaguh kampung’ (village champions). They should also be world champions,” he stressed.
The chief minister said aside from developing and nurturing more Sarawakian talents, the state government was also diversifying its economy to focus on agriculture, forestation or reforestation and digital commerce.
It was reported last Sept 26 that University Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) professor Teo Kok Seong claimed that education was the sole purview of the federal government, so allowing state-owned international schools would go against the Education Act, which requires all government schools to use Bahasa Melayu as the medium of instruction.