13 FEBRUARY 2015
I wish to lend my support to the call for more Sarawakian teachers to be trained and posted in Sarawak, instead of sending teachers from West Malaysia. The comments of the Education Minister II that there are not enough graduate teachers from Sarawak begs the question – why has that situation come about? The questions raised by Welfare, Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah are very pertinent and I look forward to the explanation.
The magnanimous offer by the Education Minister II to lower the entry requirements so that more Sarawakians can be trained, is a reflection of the patronizing attitude of West Malaysian politicians towards Sarawakians. They would do well to recall that Sarawak once had top class civil servants and a superior standard of education. That is, until we decided to entrust the Federal government with the Education portfolio, and relinquished control of almost all our government departments to them. We have been on a downhill slide since then and our ministers, or those of them who care to, have to keep on begging for better facilities and more funds from the Federal government, often to no avail. Even when funds are promised, they do not seem to come. The Education Minister admitted it himself in yesterday’s Borneo Post. The RM1billion that was promised in February last year to repair and rebuild dilapidated schools appears to have just been empty talk. The Education Blueprint states that by December 2013, all 1,608 schools requiring critical repairs would be fixed and that these repairs would start in Sabah and Sarawak. That too, was just empty talk – almost all the schools in my area are still in need of critical repairs.
What is the reason for the dire situation our Education system is in?
Common sense will tell us that it is because all the decisions and selections are made by bureaucrats and technocrats in West Malaysia who do not have the interests of Sarawak at heart. Who is there to remind them that Sarawakians are entitled to equal treatment, that Bapa Malaysia said ‘that one of the principal objectives was to further the economic development of the Borneo Territories so that their standards of living and technical skills might be raised, and a firm basis provided for accelerated economic growth, … so that the gap between a relatively backward state and the advanced would be narrowed and not widened’? Over 50 years later, we are still languishing behind West Malaysia. Am I the only person who thinks that the BN government has let us down over and over again? The statement by the Education Minister that special attention would be given to Sarawak in their new guidelines implies that they have failed us so far.
I have said it before, and I’ll say it again. Education is crucial for our advancement. Sarawakians cannot progress and prosper if we cannot provide proper and superior educational facilities and teachers for our younger generation. We must be responsible for all aspects of Education, because those civil servants in West Malaysia are not going to care about us. The Minister may say there is no bias and promise us the moon but he is not the one carrying out the work, at the end of the day.
The posting of teachers from West Malaysia is not an answer to our problems. As James Masing said – it is a political problem. 52 years of this is enough. We must take charge of our own destiny. Education is key. We need to reclaim control of Education but most importantly, we need to change the government.
To end, I reproduce what I said in DUN in May last year:
May I remind this House of Point 15 of the 18/20-point agreement on Education that ‘The existing educational system of North Borneo/Sarawak should be maintained and for this reason it should be under State control.’ The standard of our Education system started to decline the moment the responsibility was handed over to the Federal Government by Abdul Rahman Yakub. The Federal Government has made such a mess of it that we should have the right to take it back and try to restore it to its former glory.
Chairman, PKR Sarawak/
ADUN N70 Ba’ Kelalan