MIRI: Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) wants the federal government to allocate adequate funds to provide better facilities for government-aided and independent schools in the state.SUPP president and Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan said the party has received many requests from various school boards on the matter.
There are over 200 government-aided Chinese schools and over 160 government-aided mission schools with multiracial student population in the state.
“Unfortunately many of the buildings need urgent repairs, upgrading, extension or relocation due to increasing students population and many were built after World War II,” said Dr Chan during the state dinner for Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in connection with his two-day working visit to Sarawak.
In Miri, St Joseph’s Primary School needs funds for relocation to a new site allocated by the state government as part of the traffic dispersion strategy to alleviate congestion in the city centre.
Dr Chan pointed out that Bumiputera students outnumbered Chinese students in some urban Chinese schools, while in mission schools, the percentage was even higher with up to over 90 per cent in rural areas.
He thanked the federal government for allocating RM50 million each for government-aided Chinese and mission schools as well as Tamil schools in the country.
Sarawak received a total of RM28.73 million for government-aided Chinese schools (RM9.03 million) and government-aided mission schools (RM19.7 million) last year.
Miri also urgently needs another three secondary and three primary schools in the city to cope with overcrowding in the present schools in Senadin and Permyjaya.
Meanwhile, Dr Chan also called for the federal government to allocate launching grants to set up a much-needed international school here to cater for the educational needs of expatriates’ children.
Miri has the highest number of expatriates per capita ratio in the country, and the implementation of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) will raise this figure further.
“We need federal funds to kick-start this essential school as presently, the oil and gas companies and their contractors have difficulties getting expatriates to work here without an international school for their children,” explained Dr Chan.
He also urged the federal government to increase the number of police and build a new central police station with modern facilities to replace the existing station, which was built in the 1950s.
Also included in his requests was the much-needed expansion of Miri Hospital to cope with the fast growing population, which has resulted in a shortage of beds, operating theatres and medical specialists.
Dr Chan said the strong support in the Miri Division for the Barisan Nasional (BN), with all 10 parliamentary and state seats controlled by BN, should be justification for more federal funds to be channelled here.
“We are strong because all the 10 of us work as a team and on consensus, quietly sorting with the federal government to resolve problems and secure allocations,” he said.
He also called upon the federal government to place top priority for the construction of a proposed dual carriageway between the Miri Airport and Asean Bridge as pledged by former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and the speeding up of roads links to the interior in Baram apart from the improvement of the Miri-Bintulu coastal road.
Dr Chan said the BN here plans to be an example by winning all constituencies in the coming elections in the Miri Division, to reflect the fruits of progress and meet the people’s expectations in the ruling coalition.