Facebook Twitter Google Plus Vimeo Youtube Feed Feedburner

ROS LBoard 1

Masing: I understand Putrajaya’s reluctance to help rural schools

 | September 4, 2017

Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister James Masing says circumstances caused schools to be dilapidated, lowering enrolment, resulting in federal government not spending on them.

James-MasingPETALING JAYA: Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister James Masing says he can understand the federal government’s lack of assistance towards fixing up and improving rural schools in the state.

Having said last Friday that the Sarawak government will take the “bull by the horns” by repairing the dilapidated school buildings, improving the facilities, then sending the bill to Putrajaya, Masing explained how the schools came to be in such a state.

“The low enrolment in Sarawak rural schools was partly affected by the change in demographic patterns across rural areas.

“In the 1960s and 1970s, the rural population was widely scattered, and the Sarawak government in its effort to spread education to the rural populace built schools in remote communities.

“As the demographic pattern changed due to better accessibility, the remote resettlements moved to town centres, thus depriving the rural area of its population and the students to fill the schools,” Masing told FMT in a WhatsApp message today.

He added that the federal government’s reluctance to provide the necessary resources to improve rural schools in Sarawak, had just aggravated the situation.

“Understandably, the federal government does not feel the need to allocate resources to such schools with low enrolment levels. This in turn causes parents to be reluctant to send their kids to the dilapidated schools.

“So, the situation spirals downward. It is a chicken and egg situation.”

Masing, who is also the chairman of the state cabinet council on rural schools, said the only way forward was for the Sarawak government to do the necessary repairs and improvements, as well as consolidating the rural schools to address the low enrolment issue.

“But we will still bill the federal government on the cost to improve its schools, once we have done the work!” Masing told FMT.

Last Saturday, Borneo Post reported Masing as saying that science subjects are especially difficult to teach in many schools, many of which do not even have any science laboratory.

“We cannot afford to wait for the federal funds to solve this problem,” referring to the delays on the part of the education ministry in allocating the funds requested over many years.

He also said the state will be able to pay for the necessary work at first, thanks to the increase in revenue from a recent increase in timber tax from 80 sen per cubic metre to RM50 per cubic metre. The old rate had been in place for more than three decades.

The Sarawak government expects its revenue from timber tax to increase to about RM200-300 million per annum compared with the RM15 million per annum previously.


Sarawak to repair schools on its own, then bill Putrajaya


Readers are required to have a valid Facebook account to comment on this story. We welcome your opinions to allow a healthy debate. We want our readers to be responsible while commenting and to consider how their views could be received by others. Please be polite and do not use swear words or crude or sexual language or defamatory words. FMT also holds the right to remove comments that violate the letter or spirit of the general commenting rules.

The views expressed in the contents are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of FMT.