KUCHING: The state government will continue its policy of adopting English as the official language of the state with Bahasa Malaysia.
"It is important for the people to uphold the English language that has become an important communication tool across the globe.
“The state’s education system is still open (liberal). Thank God the level of English among the people here is still good.
"That is why the late Tok Nan (Tan Sri Adenan Satem) adopted English as the official language of Sarawak apart from Bahasa Malaysia," said Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg (pix).
“I will also pursue this policy so that English will remain an official language of the state,” he said at the Save SMK St Teresa’s Nite fundraising dinner on Saturday.
Pointing out that there should not be any issue to prioritise English at the same level as Bahasa Malaysia, Abang Johari said education "is about moulding oneself to get extra knowledge."
"This is so considering the emerging economies of today that leads towards digital economy.
“When we attend overseas conferences, English is widely used, as it is a universal language.
"If you don’t know how to communicate in English, you will feel isolated at that conference,” he said.
Adenan, who passed away on Jan 11, has been a strong advocate for the use of English in Sarawak.
Abang Johari announced a further allocation of RM500,000 from the state government for the building of St Teresa’s new school block that was razed on Oct 29 last year. This is on top of RM1mil pledged by Adenan last year.
The fire damaged the school hall, teacher’s office, library, prayer room, counselling and music rooms including workshops.
The school needed to raise RM8.2mil to build a new block, including additional classrooms.
Saturday’s fundraising also saw Sabati (the charitable Association of Wives of Ministers and Assistant Ministers of Sarawak) pledged RM50,000 while Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof donated RM20,000 to the school. Tan Sri Leonard Linggi Jugah of Tun Jugah Foundation donated RM30,000.
St Teresa will hold events this year, including concerts, to raise the needed funds.
Abang Johari also pledged to match the fundraising amount ringgit to ringgit.
“Mission schools such as St Teresa have played an important role in producing quality human capital in the country.
"These schools have produced a lot of intellectuals who have the role to build Sarawak, to build the society.
"In a multi-religious society like Sarawak, schools like St Teresa has moulded individuals who can mix and work together with others,” he said.
Abang Johari himself is a product of a mission school that is St Joseph Kuching.