KOTA KINABALU: Federal leaders should take a leaf out of Sabah’s book when it comes to education.
Political secretary to the Chief Minister, Nic Chak, said this was because education had always been a politically contentious issue there.
“Just look at the fights and quarrels and bickering West Malaysians are having over subjects like the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC), allocation for vernacular schools, language, religion, my goodness.
“But here in Sabah we are different because we have a colour-blind Chief Minister who does not politicise education.
“That is why allocation, funding and recognition is given fairly to all Sabahans regardless of race and religion.”
In this context he said human capital development and talent retention would continue to be a state government priority.
“That is why after the Warisan government took over in May 2018, we kept our promise to establish two new Ministries.
“One of them is the Ministry of Education and Innovation led by Dr. Yusuf Yacob.
“This was done so that more emphasis can be placed in developing human capital, retaining talents in Sabah and reducing the brain drain Sabah has been facing for decades.”
Chak was speaking to reporters after representing the Chief Minister to hand over canopies and fans at SK Tanjung 2 Aru here.
He said the state government’s track record had been proven over the past two years.
“While funding for government schools and Islamic religious schools continue to be set aside, we were also able to recognise the UEC way back in October 2019 and provide annual allocations to help students in private Chinese schools.
“In 2019, state scholarships, financial assistance and bursaries for Sabahans were increased by RM15 million (about 40 per cent) from RM37 million in 2018 to RM52 million.
“This year, the state government will continue to disburse RM52 million worth of state scholarships. This is important to retain more talent and human capital.
“In the recently announced second economic stimulus package themed Sabah New Deal, a total of RM20 million was also set aside for the Ministry of Education and Innovation to train skilled Sabahans so that they can find better and more lucrative jobs in spite of the economic slowdown.”
Chak felt Sabah’s successes should be emulated by its peninsula counterparts.