Board appeals for extra funds for aided Chinese schools

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Jonathan Chai

KUCHING: The Ministry of Education (MoE) is urged to provide additional funds for aided Chinese primary schools (SJK Chung Hua) in Sarawak to carry out their respective school extension projects.

In making this call yesterday, chairman of Federation of Boards of Management for SJK Chung Hua of Kuching, Samarahan and Serian Divisions Jonathan Chai said these funds would be on top of the annual allocation of RM50 million for the development of SJK Chung Hua pledged in the National Budget.

“We would like to appeal to the Ministry (of Education) to provide funds for those schools which are in need of extension or building additional classrooms as they do not fall within the scope of the RM50 million package,” he told The Borneo Post here.

He made these remarks when prompted for comments on a total of 168 SJK Chung Hua in Sarawak having received RM9.39 million out of the RM50 million meant for such schools nationwide.

Chai said the federation was generally happy with the amount granted to SJK Chung Hua in the state.

“As a whole, I think we have to be contented with the quantum allocated to us (Sarawak) having considered that the RM50 million budgeted for the SJK Chung Hua in the country simply could not fulfill the needs of all schools, and also the prevailing financial position of the country.”

There are 883 SJK Chung Hua across Malaysia, of which 191 are in Sarawak.

A total of 168 of these 191 were given their share of funds totalling RM9.39 million.

Of the RM9.39 million, a total of RM3.3 million went to 53 SJK Chung Hua under the federation headed by Chai.

According to him, SJK Chung Hua Batu 10 here received the biggest sum of RM260,000.

This year, all the funds granted to SJK Chung Hua nationwide were electronically done.

Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Chang reportedly said 772 out of the total 883 SJK Chung Hua in Malaysia were given a share of the RM50 million.

This RM50 million was pledged in the National Budget 2018 tabled by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in Oct 2017.

The funds, in various amounts, were electronically transferred to the accounts held by the respective school boards of management on Dec 26 last year (2018).

“We hope that the schools could receive their allocation earlier (in 2019) so that they can carry out the repair works during the long year-end holidays,” Chai added.

On another matter, he said: “It is not a matter of submitting the application early as proposed by (Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs) YB Chong (Chieng Jen).”

It was the standard practice, Chai said, that the schools will only submit their applications upon receipt of instruction from the MoE.

“Perhaps the ministry could give notice to the schools earlier next year and start processing their applications even before the funds are made available by the Ministry of Finance.

“In any event, we welcome the plan of Deputy Minister of Education Teo Nie Ching, targeting to have the funds released by next June,” he added.

At a press conference last Thursday, Chong called upon SJK Chung Hua that needed funds for renovation and development to submit their applications as early as possible.

Since 2014, the federal government has set aside RM50 million per year for SJK Chung Hua nationwide. Prior to this, at least for the year 2013, the allocation was RM100 million.