If elected Pakatan Rakyat has pledged to return power to manage the education system to Sabah and Sarawak.
KOTA KINABALU: Promises are coming thick and fast from both the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) and the opposition Pakatan Rakyat in an attempt to woo the electorate in Sabah and Sarawak ahead of the 13th general election.
While the BN has opted for tried and tested but threadbare coat of incentives that have failed to deliver the goods in either state after close to 50 years since independence, the opposition coalition is committing to real change in both states.
According to PKR vice-president Tian Chua, Sabah and Sarawak can look forward to a more liberalised and decentralised education system under a Pakatan-administered federal government.
Chua said Pakatan is aware of the complaints from Sabah leaders that the state education director has become redundant in the management of the education system as the federal government had taken control of the two East Malaysian states.
“We in PKR and Pakatan recognize the unique position of Sabah and Sarawak vis-a-vis our national education system.
“Unlike the ruling BN which has increasingly taken over power from the Sabah state education director, a federal government under PR (Pakatan) would reverse the BN approach from centralizing to decentralizing the management of the state education management,” he said in statement issued here yesterday.
Chua, who is also MP for Batu, said Pakatan would also give more Borneo contents in the national school curriculum.
“We believe the rights of Sabah and Sarawak as partners in the formation of Malaysia must never be overlooked.
“It is dangerous to federalize everything to the point East Malaysians become restless over their roles, rights and privileges,” he said.
Committed to the people
He said a Pakatan government would listen to state leaders’ view on how best to manage the education, which was once under a state jurisdiction in Sabah and Sarawak.
Chua was responding to complaints, including from Sabah state BN leaders, that Sabah education director Muhyidin Yusin was powerless to deal with many issues affecting schools which of late came directly under federal purview.
Thus far the most senior state BN leader who has complained about this is Sabah Minister of Tourism and Environment, Masidi Manjun, Masidi is also the minister in-charge of education in Sabah.
According to Chua, once in power, PKR would lead in taking the necessary steps to ensure Sabahans and Sarawakians are given priority first in the teachers training recruitment.
“This is our commitment to the people here,” he said.