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Sarawak didn’t break any law to set up international schools – minister

29th September, 2020

KUCHING: Yayasan Sarawak, in building a number of international secondary schools, is not contravening any Malaysian law, says state Education, Science and Technological Research Minister, Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong.

He said his ministry had studied the relevant laws and had extensive engagements with the federal Education Ministry (MOE) to comply with all the requirements in every step of the process of setting up these schools.

“I would like to state that Sarawak is a law-abiding state and that we take extra care to ensure that every initiative and programme that we undertake does not contravene the laws of Malaysia,” he told a press conference, here, Monday.

Last Saturday, principal fellow at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Institute of Ethnic Studies, Prof Datuk Dr Teo Kok Seong was quoted by a news portal, Free Malaysia Today, as saying that the state’s plan to build five state-owned international schools was against the provisions of the Education Act, 1996.

According to Prof Teo, education comes under the purview of the federal government and allowing state-owned international schools would go against the Education Act, which requires all government schools to use Bahasa Melayu as a medium of instruction.

Manyin said: The proposed Yayasan Sarawak International Secondary Schools are not government schools within the definition of the Act, but private schools as they will be owned and operated by a company just like most other private international schools in the country.

“The schools to be set up will be owned and maintained by Sanjung Services Sdn Bhd, a private company registered under the Companies Act 2006 and a subsidiary of Yayasan Sarawak.

“Thus, the statement by the professor relating to the requirements under the Education Act 1996 does not apply to these schools. The project will proceed only after the company has obtained the MOE’s support letter which states that it has fulfilled all the conditions set by the ministry.”

He added that the Yayasan Sarawak Private International Schools project was aimed at helping the state’s low-income families with brilliant children to obtain quality international education and to develop them to become capable leaders in the future.

The construction of five international schools will be carried out in stages with the ground-breaking ceremony for the first at Mile 12 (KM 19), Kuching-Serian road held recently to mark the commencement of its construction and it is expected to be operational by 2022. – Bernama

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