Posted on December 6, 2012, Thursday
SIBU: Sarawak Teachers’ Union (STU) has described the lack of decent accommodation for pupils at SK Punan Ba, Belaga as “saddening and shocking”.
STU president William Ghani Bina said yesterday that this was a glaring example of how the state has been sidelined.
Ghani said he was dumbfounded by newspaper reports that the pupils have been living in the cramped headmaster’s quarters and suffering in silence throughout the school year.
He said there should be no reason for the state to run short of schools or to have schools with such poor facilities.
“Sarawak has the largest volume of gas and oil in the world and yet gets only 5 per cent in oil royalties. In fact, the 95 per cent should be used to develop the whole country.
“To me, if it is possible for the federal government to spend certain percentage of that amount in Sabah and Sarawak, I would like to request that the state government retain at least 20 per cent of the oil and gas revenue.
“In that way, we will be able to better plan for the development of the state. Take note that Sarawak has the largest area of land which can be turned into plantation, in particular, oil palm plantation,” he said adding that Sarawak is the main contributor to the country’s economy.
Ghani lamented that while other states in the country continued to progress rapidly, Sabah and Sarawak are still lagging behind.
“Both states are the key contributors to the country’s economy. Hence, it is only right that we are better developed or at least being developed immediately,” he said.
He called on lawmakers from the state to speak out in parliament.
“They must request for development for Sarawak.”
The school’s hostel collapsed last year, injuring 18 pupils including five seriously. Nothing has apparently been done to repair the facilities