Dr Sim fielding questions from reporters.

SAMARAHAN: The state government’s move to establish a special unit for aided Chinese primary schools or SJK (C) in Sarawak is to ensure that these schools systematically receive financial assistance every year.

Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian, who heads the unit, said that the unit’s concept was similar to the Unit for Other Religions (Unifor).

“We have two main purposes at the moment – to rebuild classrooms and to relocate schools,” he told reporters after attending the opening of the new SJK Chung Hua Bako here by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg yesterday (Sept 15).

He explained that this was different from the funding received from the federal government, which was only for repairs and matters other than rebuilding or relocation.

“With this unit, there will be systematic funding. We will have officers to monitor and ensure that the money is used for the school building,” he said.

He said that the chief minister had agreed to set up the unit as many funding requests had been received from aided Chinese primary schools, adding that there were 222 such schools in Sarawak.

“In this unit, we will assess based on needs. Matters which are urgent such as buildings on the verge of collapse and relocation of schools will be quickly funded,” he said. 

At the same time, Dr Sim thanked the chief minister, describing the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government’s initiative as the first of its kind in Malaysia.

He noted that Chinese primary schools took in students irrespective of their races and religions, with increasing numbers of Bumiputera students enrolled. About 27 percent of students in these schools are Bumiputeras.

“Hopefully, with all of these efforts, these schools will have a better environment for their students. In this way, we are building up talents for Sarawak,” he said.