by Antonia Chiam, firstname.lastname@example.org. Posted on March 11, 2015, Wednesday
KUCHING: The state cabinet has agreed to allow the Indonesian government to set up schools in Sarawak.
Welfare, Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah said this is because the Malaysian government, through Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, agreed to the request.
“Education is under federal jurisdiction, so since the Prime Minister has agreed to do so, we have to follow. It was discussed and approved at a state cabinet meeting recently.
“However, there are many things we will have to look at in terms of implementation and enforcement and we must be stringent to ensure that our noble intention does not become something beyond our control,” she told reporters after officiating at an inter-school sports meet yesterday.
She was commenting on the development of Indonesian schools following Najib’s recent announcement that Sarawak and Sabah have agreed to set up the schools as per the Indonesian government’s request.
Fatimah stressed that the schools would be fully funded by the Indonesian government.
“The school system is based on their Indonesian curriculum, with teachers from Indonesia and in places where there are many Indonesian workers, particularly in plantations.
“The Indonesian government requested that the children who are following their parents here be given the chance for education so that when they go back to their homeland, they are not left far behind in their studies. This is in accordance with the basic rights of a child to have education regardless of where they are,” she said.
Fatimah said there are many issues to be addressed, including the potential violation of social visit passes.
“Actually under our labour laws, there is a condition that Indonesian workers cannot bring spouses and children. But in some cases, they may have come here alone but met their partners here and had children here.
“We have to examine many aspects including existing laws before the schools are set up. We don’t want to deny the rights of children to have education but there is a need for us to have control over entry of spouses and children based on existing laws. It is necessary to make sure the implementation and enforcement are properly in place,” she noted.