KUCHING: Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) educationist Prof Datuk Dr Teo Kok Seong was asked to verify his facts following his negative remarks on the Sarawak government’s initiative to set up international schools to provide better education for Sarawak children.
Management Board of Kuching Chung Hua Middle School (CHMS) No.1, 3 and 4 chairman Datuk Richard Wee said Teo should be more understanding of the context of the situation as well as do a bit of research before making any comments on the matter.
“I would not even try to dignify him with a rebuttal. My only advice for such a person is to try to understand [Sarawak], do a bit of research and verify all the facts before making such a stupid comment.
“For all intents and purposes, I think the Sarawak government has already gotten the licence for the schools that they intended to build for the future of Sarawak. Otherwise, they would not have dared to start the project works.
“So, if the state government has obtained the licence, what is the issue of it being legal or not legal?” he told New Sarawak Tribune when contacted on Sunday (Sept 27).
The Sarawak government has planned to establish five state-owned international schools in the state; two in Kuching and one each in Sibu, Bintulu and Miri.
Apart from providing access to international-standard education, these schools also provide subsidies for the bright students coming from the B40 and M40 economic groups.
The first facility located at Mile 12 in Jalan Kuching-Serian, is expected to start operation by 2023.
Wee claimed that efforts to establish international schools were meant to uplift the standard of the state’s education system as well as improve Sarawakians’ command in English.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to show our appreciation that the state government is willing to invest in education.
“This is something which a lot of Sarawakians are looking forward to. I think it is a very bold move for the state to take this initiative,” he added.
On Saturday (Sept 26), Teo told an online news portal that the Sarawak government’s initiative to set up international schools goes against the law as education came under the purview of the federal government and allowing state-owned international schools would go against the Education Act.
He said the proposal was not right and that there must be uniformity as far as government entities are concerned, adding that the Sarawak government should instead import British teachers, for a more efficient way of improving the command of English throughout the state.