KOTA KINABALU, 28 November 2018: Sabah leaders are questioning Dr Maszlee Malik’s assurance that the enrolment of stateless children in government schools would not affect opportunities for their local counterparts.
Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) deputy president Edward Dagul said the Federal Education Minister’s statement was irresponsible at best and at worse showed that Maszlee was ignorant of the facts.
“Whatever it is, this is further proof that Malaya leaders simply open their mouths before any real fact-finding investigations are done,” he said on Wednesday.
“If there is not enough money to reimburse Sabah for money retained by the Federal government for nearly 50 years, then please do not act as if everything is just fine,” said Edward, who is also the Gabungan Sabah secretary general.
He noted that it was only a week ago that the Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, said that there was not enough money in the Federal coffers to pay Sabah’s 40% taxation to be returned to the state as stipulated in the Federal Constitution.
Edward said the Federal government had neglected its responsibility in providing for sufficient education facilities in Sabah in pointing out that state Minister of Education and Innovation Datuk Dr Yusoff Yacob had recently stated that more than 50% of schools here were in dire need of immediate repairs.
“If even the basic infrastructure of schools in Sabah encompassing buildings, classrooms etc. are not maintained, then what more enrolment of stateless children, which will prove more costly. Are we to believe that the anticipated surge in students enrolment will not impact the well-being of genuine Sabah children?" Edward said.
He said the Federal government should first address the infrastructure and human resource requirements of schools such as the need for more teachers.
“Then and only then, can we discuss humanitarian considerations such as the schooling of the stateless children,” Edward added.
He said Dr Maszlee’s statement also showed a glaring lack of cohesive communication between the Federal ministers as well the state federal ministers.
It is only fair that genuine Sabahans should be given the priority, Edward added.