KUCHING: Sarawak government will continue to grant annual fund to Chinese independent schools (Du Zhong) across the state.
Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, who pledged so on behalf of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg last night, said this annual grant is to carry on in addition to the state land alienated to Du Zhong by Sarawak government.
“Chief Minister Abang Johari has given land to Du Zhong to make a stable income in order to support themselves financially. But this does not mean that Sarawak government will cease giving the annual grant.
“Abang Johari wants me to tell Du Zhong not to worry about it. They can make income through the land alienated to them while Sarawak government is continue giving them the annual grant,” he said when representing Abang Johari to launch the Kuching Chung Hua Middle School (CHMS) No.1’s 60th anniversary dinner held at the school sport field.
Dr Sim pointed out that Sarawak government has recognised Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) — the credential held by students of Du Zhong — for three years and counting.
He said UEC holders can join the state civil service following such recognition, which was granted under the leadership of former chief minister the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem.
On the health and education autonomy in Sarawak, Dr Sim said Sarawak government is more than willing to take over this should the federal government decide to devolve such power to the state.
“We are more than happy to take over the autonomy in health and education, but the federal government must continue to give us fund. Without money, we cannot do much,” he noted.
He was delighted to see some 2,500 former teachers and students gather at the anniversary do.
To him, the beauty of such gathering is the reflection of individuals remembering and contributing back to their former school.
“Even though your school lacks the funding, the spirit of alumni giving back to the school remains high,” he said, adding that other alumni bodies ought to emulate what the CHMS Alumni Association has been doing for the school.
He said Abang Johari had pledged a RM50,000 government grant for the CHMS Alumni Association.
“Since the Chief Minister has announced to give RM50,000 to the alumni association, I shall follow suit and I’m giving RM10,000 to the alumin association,” added Dr Sim.
Among those present were China’s Consul General in Kuching Cheng Guangzhong, Board of Management for CHMS No.1, 3 and 4 chairman Dato Richard Wee, CHMS No.1 principal Yap Chong Guan, CHMS No.1 Alumni Association chairman Lucas Yong and organising chairman Peter Ho.