Cabinet approves money for 700,000 poor pupils in Sarawak

SOME 700,000 students in Sarawak will soon benefit from the Poor Student Trust Fund which was approved by the federal cabinet recently. 

Minister of Infrastructure Development and Communications Datuk Wong Soon Koh said the state is expected to receive about RM85mil. 

He said the trust fund (RM200mil has been initially allocated nationwide) was the government's commitment to ensure that from this year, no child would miss school for financial reasons. 

Each needy student would receive a one-off payment of RM120 to buy the necessities for schooling, he said at the annual presentation of the Sarawak Foundation Excellence Awards in Sibu. The text of his speech was read by MP for Sibu Bandar Datuk Robert Lau Hoi Chew. 

A total of 867 students from 21 schools in the Sibu Division who excelled in their UPSR, PMR and SPM examinations last year later received the awards. 

Wong said the government is determined to make education a priority in its development programmes to create a literate population. Starting this year, parents can be prosecuted for failing to send their children to primary school. 

On the Sarawak Foundation, Wong said that this year it had set aside RM23mil for education purposes, covering preschools and primary/secondary education right up to institutions of higher learning, local and abroad. 

“This amount, coupled with its various other relevant programmes and activities has made it the most proactive of all state foundations nationwide since the mid1990s,” he said, adding that in the past three years, the foundation had spent some RM1mil annually for the awards, initiated in 1986. – Bernama 

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