KUCHING: The 1Malaysia spirit came to life yesterday as 165 aided Chinese primary schools, secondary schools and Mission schools in the state received federal allocations totalling RM11.2 million just before Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said the federal government doled out the fund following a series of state-wide visits early this year when various boards of management put forward their needs and requests.
In a breakdown, he said 152 aided Chinese primary schools (SJKC) were given RM9.5 million in total and eight secondary schools (SMJK) received RM500,000.
He added that four Mission primary schools and one mission secondary school were granted RM1.2 million.
“The government has been handing out allocations in a consistent manner to schools in Sarawak. Since the 12th general election (12GE) in 2008, it has given out RM60 million to SJKC in Sarawak.
“The allocations were granted based on categories and urgency,” he told a press conference after the cheque presenting ceremony held at Chung Hua Primary School at 10th Mile in Padawan near here.
Wee pointed out that schools, which are in dire need of upgrading would be prioritised while those requiring extended capacity would get the grant soon.
“Some buildings are unsafe for learning due to poor maintenance, hence the need for fund to upgrade. There are also schools that need more classrooms to meet the rising intakes.
“Also, we received some minor requests like needing additional tables and chairs,” he said, reiterating that the government allocations were granted based on necessity.
In his speech earlier, Wee thanked the various boards of management for having contributed opinions during his visits to the state last February and March.
Sarawak, he stressed, had “benefited the most” as far as education allocations to aided Chinese primary schools were concerned.
“I am glad that many school boards of management have come forward to discuss and tell us their difficulties. We appreciate such effort and hope it will be continued for mutual benefits.
“We are handing out not just mock cheques today, recipients will actually receive the cheque kept in an envelope. Meaning that the money will be credited to their accounts after Hari Raya.”
Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water Datuk Seri Peter Chin, who was also present at the press conference, conceded that some aided Chinese primary schools in rural areas suffered from poor learning conditions.
Chin, also SUPP president, said the federal government, through its Education Ministry, had reached out to many schools in Sarawak.
“A lot of SJKC in rural areas are in poor conditions, that is why the federal government has granted allocations to these schools for upgrading and maintenance.”