S’wak Education Dept now has power to approve projects directly funded by state govt

Posted on 23 Feb 2024
Source of News: The Borneo Post

Azhar (fourth right) shows the documents together with Fadhlina (fifth right). Also seen are Indera Nik Nasarudin (third right), Sagah (fifth left), Dr Annuar (fourth left) and other officers from MEITD and MoE.

KUCHING (Feb 22): The Sarawak Education Department has been given the authority to approve projects which are directly funded by the Sarawak government.

The move is to shorten the bureaucratic process for the implementation of projects as prior to the agreement, the authority to approve projects, even though funded by the state government, lies with the Ministry of Education (MoE) in Putrajaya.

Besides projects which are funded by the state government, authority is also given to the director for other projects not funded by the state government but with prior concurrence by the Ministry of Education, Innovation and Talent Development (MEITD), Sarawak.

The document to delegate the authority was presented to the Sarawak Education Department director Datu DrAzhar Ahmad by the Ministry of Education Malaysia secretary general Datuk Indera Nik Nasarudin Zawawi.

Minister for Education, Innovation and Talent Development Sarawak Dato Sri Roland Sagah Wee Inn when contacted said this is a step forward to education autonomy.

He also said in their deliberation, the ministry had requested for more funds for dilapidated schools in the state.

“(However) Dilapidated schools are an entirely different issue as it involves funding and implementation matters. As you are aware, projects below RM50 million are implemented by our own state agency,” Sagah told The Borneo Post.

He added that funding is subject to approval in the national budget which is under the purview of the Ministry of Finance, whereby submissions for funds will be made by the MoE.

Sagah had earlier witnessed the handing-over of the documents to delegate the authority together with Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek and Deputy Minister for Education, Innovation and Talent Development Datuk Dr Annuar Rapaee.

In a statement from MEITD, prior to the delegation of authority, projects under the Rural Transformation Programme (RTP), Minor Rural Project (MRP) and other minor projects need to be approved by the state representatives.

This has caused much disappointment not only to state representatives but also to the beneficiaries of the projects, especially the students, parents and teachers.

The statement also highlighted that the state representatives are very well-known to have provided assistance through their annual RTP and MRP allocations to schools and other educational institutions.

The delegation of authority today is seen as a major step forward by MoE as a result of several discussions between MEITD and MoE on the subject of MA63, particularly Paragraph 17 of the IGC Report 1962.

The statement also mentioned that Fadhlina was in Kuching to co-chair a Joint Action Committee for Education Development with Sagah.

The Joint Action Committee is to deliberate matters under MA63, in particular Paragraph 17 of the IGC Report 1962, and other matters and issues on education in Sarawak.

According to Paragraph 17(1) of the IGC Report, the present policy and system of administration of education in Sarawak (including their present Ordinances) should be undisturbed and remain under the control of the Government of the State until that government otherwise agrees.

MEITD has put forth several matters under Paragraph 17 of the IGC Report which has attained considerable success