Abang Johari signing a screen in a smart classroom. Photos: Mohd Alif Noni

AIDED CHINESE SCHOOL

SAMARAHAN: The Sarawak government has agreed to establish a special unit to coordinate and manage financial assistance for aided Chinese primary schools in Sarawak, announced Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

“We have received many requests for assistance but these are not coordinated, so we have decided to form this unit,” he said in a press conference after he officiated at the opening ceremony of the new SJK Chung Hua Bako here today.

He said that the unit would help the state government in estimating the annual budget required for allocations to these schools.

He added that the unit will be headed by Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian and its committee members would include Jonathan Chai Voon Tok, president of the Association of the Boards of Management of Aided Chinese Primary Schools in Kuching, Samarahan and Serian Divisions, among others.

“With this medium, we will be able to give assistance consistently to these Chinese schools every year,” he said.

He noted that Chinese schools now have many students of various racial backgrounds, adding that out of 60,000 students there, 20,000 are bumiputeras.

Abang Johari also emphasised that education had to be multi-dimensional with interaction between various races in order to enrich knowledge and foster greater understanding among students.

“Thus, the state government will continue to assist Sarawak’s schools besides the ones under the federal government,” he assured.

As mentioned in his speech during the opening ceremony, he reiterated that the state government had allocated RM17 million for Chinese schools this year — with RM8 million going to the special unit for aided Chinese primary schools and the other RM9 million earlier allocated to Chinese independent secondary schools.

“We will manage it properly. At least now we have a body to coordinate the development of Chinese schools,” he said.

At the same time, he pointed out that the state government was building international schools to assist Sarawakians in getting the right aptitude and training to perform for the future.

Earlier during the opening ceremony, Abang Johari presented a mock cheque for RM8 million to the special unit for aided Chinese primary schools, represented by Dr Sim.

Cheques for financial assistance were also handed over to various aided Chinese primary schools in addition to certificates for the main sponsors of the new SJK Chung Hua Bako as a token of appreciation.