DAILY EXPRESS NEWS
RM18.4m grant to schools, churches
Kota Kinabalu: Chinese independent, mission and government-aided schools as well as non-Muslim religious bodies in Sabah on Friday received a boon in the form of grants from the State Government totalling RM18.4 million.
Describing the occasion as one of the most important in the State's calendar, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said this clearly reflected the Barisan Nasional (BN) Government's concern for the development of these schools and the welfare of religious organisations in the State.
"Every year, the State Government hands out allocations to schools, including Chinese independent and mission schools, in an effort to assist them in achieving their respective educational agendas and overall mission," he said.
The State Government had also increased the allocation to the schools and non-religious bodies this year.
About RM7.9 million was given to 121 schools this year compared to RM5.45 million last year, while RM10.48 million had been allocated to the non-Muslim religious bodies, including 15 Christian organisations, 39 Chinese temples as well as a Hindu and a Sikh temple, an increase from last year's RM9.66 million.
Musa said the State Government had extended early grants for schools that were deemed to be in need of financial assistance in February this year as well as to schools in interior badly affected by the floods last year, reflecting the BN Government's commitment towards the welfare of these schools and overall development of education in the State.
He assured that the State Government would do its level best to assist schools in an effort to uplift the level of education among the people, especially those from rural areas and those who are less fortunate.
"This is also very much in line with the emphasis on education under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, clearly reflected in the huge allocation given to Sabah by the Federal Government," he said.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, in launching the Education Development Action Plan earlier this year, stated that the generation of students to be produced must not only be literate but also intellectually capable. Towards this end, Musa said all quarters in the educational development programme should focus on nurturing students with the objective of developing quality human capital.
"It is one of the major thrusts of the National Mission and an important agenda in achieving the successful implementation of the Ninth Malaysia Plan," he said.
Musa, who is Finance Minister, hoped educational institutions, including Chinese independent schools, would tailor their teaching methods and curriculum towards this educational direction.
"I also hope that with the allocations provided, the schools will use them soundly to fund their respective projects, programmes and activities as well as upgrade their educational facilities," he said.
Musa said the provision of allocations to non-Muslim religious organisations clearly reflected the State Government's commitment to uphold religious freedom and to encourage religious and spiritual development of the people irrespective of their race and beliefs.
"Houses of worship, including churches and temples, will continue to get the State Government's support in addition to the overall development of the State that will bring benefit to the people of Sabah," he said.
According to him, churches and temples complements the Government's efforts in creating a moral and caring society and curb social ills such as drug abuse and other criminal activities.
Musa hoped recipients of the grant would reciprocate by spending them wisely to fund their respective programmes and activities as well as upgrade their facilities.
Meanwhile, Federation of Sabah Chinese Associations (FCAS) President, Datuk Sari Nuar, in his appreciation speech, said the allocation this year was the biggest ever handed out by the State Government to private schools and non-Muslim religious bodies.
"The Sabah Government has strongly emphasised on the importance of education and human capital development for Sabah and, therefore, is willing to financially assist all schools despite the fact that education is under the Federal Government's jurisdiction," he said. Towards this end, he proposed that the State Government set up a new budget for schools to expand due to the shortage of classrooms in cities, especially in the State Capital.
Also expressing appreciation to the State Government was Sabah Council of Churches Chairman, Bishop Datuk Voo Thien Fui.
Also present at the function were Deputy Chief Ministers Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan and Datuk Raymond Tan, Resources Development and Information Technology Minister Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai, Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister Datuk Edward Khoo and Chinese political and community leaders.
mimang teda lepas ni perkataan....biasa la,dakat suda tu..hehe