KOTA KINABALU: Sipitang MP, Datuk Sapawi Ahmad, recommends for a special committee in the state level to be set up to cover various input on education.
He said it will include the implementation and coordination of efforts and education projects, besides from addressing issues and problems in the sector.
He also said Sabah has its own education exco cum the responsible minister on education issues, who can helm or become a co-chairperson of the envisioned special committee.
‘In line with the target, we hope for a proactive and more effective action to be taken to improve Sabah education level; and in Sarawak also, which up till now are still lagging behind due to numerous different policies, implementations, and deliverance,” he said.
Debating on the Budget 2016 at the state assembly, he welcomes the budget’s initiative for education.
He also suggests for steps to be taken to solve the lack of educators from Sabah, where he calls for IPT’s intake quota for Sabah-born in education courses to be increased, and for one of the institute in Sabah to be converted as a training centre for teachers to learn and understand the local sociocultural practices.
He believes that this approach can overcome the problem of low number of trained teachers in Sabah.
Citing on the state Education Department’s statistic, he said almost 3,000 from the 8,000 teachers from the Peninsular in the state have applied to return to their respective state by this year.
“The issue of educators from the Peninsular applying to return to their home state has been happening for decades, and it is one of the factor why education in Sabah is growing slowly, since new teachers from the Peninsular require time to adapt with the geography and different cultures.
“With the special committee, these kind of issues can be solved and the target to have 90 percent of local teachers from Sabah and Sarawak can be realized within three years, as promised by the Prime Minister during his visit to the state for Malaysia Day, recently,” he added.
Sapawi also want allowance for teachers in Sabah, Sarawak, and Peninsular to be consistently equal in accordance to the concept of 1Malaysia.
Currently, teachers from the Peninsular posted to Sabah receive RM885 housing allowance while teachers from Sabah in the Peninsular only receive RM460 for the same aid.
He believes that the new Education Minister is able to handle education issues in Sabah since he once served as a teacher in the state for many years, and as SMK Gadong Principal in Sipitang parliamentary.
Regarding on education in Sipitang, Sapawi addressed the suggestion to upgrade SMK Pengiran Omar, Sipitang which is the oldest school in Sipitang parliamentary, and Sipitang Education Office that is in poor condition.
He said these problems have been raised several times, and also voiced by the previous Deputy Prime Minister cum Education Minsiter during an event in Sipitang in 2013.
Sapawi also inquire the relevant ministry on the implementation of road projects for Mendulong-Meligan-Long Pa Sia, Jalan Ulu Karangan-Lumadan, and Jalan Mentulud-Bangkalalak, where he asked for these roads to be upgraded soon with the possibility for them to be carried out as a package.
Sapawi also welcomes the announcement of Budget 2016 to include the Pan-Borneo project for Sabah next year, beginning from Sindumin (in Sipitang parliamentary) to Tawau, covering 706km of roads and costing RM12.8 billion.
“The government also guarantees that the Pan-Borneo highway to be toll-free,” he added.
He said Sipitang is the new centre of economic growth and the state government is developing the parliamentary as an Oil and Gas Industrial Park, where it is expected to attract billions in investment.
The progress is kickstarted with the launching of Samur Project by Petronas costing RM4.6 billion. -SayangSabah