Koh: RM70mil for Sarawak mission schools not because of Al-Kitab issue

Sarawak’s mission schools have been prioritised to receive funds for school building repairs from the allocation for such schools under the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP), said Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.

“The allocation of RM70 million is for 2011 and 2012, and out of the RM35 million for 2011, Sarawak’s 127 mission schools have been accorded priority because many of them are in need of serious repair, especially the schools in the rural areas,” he said in a statement.

The statement was to clarify the allocation of the funds for mission schools under the 10MP that was announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak last year, when tabling the plan in Parliament.

Dr Koh stressed that the allocation was not unique to Sarawak and that it was unfortunate that certain members of the press have suggested that it had been made in an attempt to placate the Christian community, in view of the current Sarawak state election. He emphasised that the allocation had been announced in 2010.

The minister also hoped that the clarification would put to rest “unfounded and superfluous speculation” surrounding the efforts by the government to assist such schools.

“It is also mischievous to link it to the Alkitab issue, as the two are completely unrelated,” he added.

Dr Koh said each mission school in Sarawak has been given an initial allocation of RM50,000. The rest of the money allotted for Sarawak has been allocated based upon the specific needs of each school.

“The government consulted all stake holders, including the Federation of Mission Schools Malaysia, with whom I personally met on a number of occasions.

“They worked indefatigably to determine the needs of each mission school in Sabah, Sarawak, and Peninsula Malaysia, and we are grateful for their efforts,”he said.

Dr Koh said apart from him, other ministers, including Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, Datuk Seri Peter Chin Fah Kui, Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, and Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas, also met many times to deliberate over the suggestions made by the Federation of Mission Schools Malaysia and to determine how best to disburse the funds.

A joint proposal had then been presented to the Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyuddin Yassin, in March 2010, Dr Koh said.

He added that the rest of the funds would be distributed to mission schools in Sabah and Peninsula Malaysia in stages in 2011 and 2012.
Dr Koh said the allocation of funds to mission schools, religious schools, Chinese Schools, and Tamil Schools under the Economic Stimulus Packages in 2009 and the 10MP, was in recognition of the role played by these schools in moulding and nurturing young Malaysians.

Further, it was a testament to the government’s commitment to the 1Malaysia spirit of inclusiveness, he said.