Laptops, RM500 book vouchers part of student aid under Sarawak budget

Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg showing the budget speech upon arriving at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly on Monday (Nov 20). - ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE/The Star

KUCHING: Sarawakian tertiary students from low-income families will receive free laptops and book vouchers in new initiatives under the state budget for next year, says Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

The Premier said free laptops would be given to students who have been accepted into public and private higher education institutions.

Eligible students must come from families with a monthly household income of RM1,500 and below.

"This assistance is expected to benefit 5,000 students with an allocation of RM15mil in this budget.

"This initiative promises to empower our students with the essential technology they need to excel in their academic pursuits," he said when tabling the budget in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly on Monday (Nov 20).

Abang Johari also said Sarawakian students in public and private tertiary institutions would receive a RM500 book voucher each.

He said RM17.5mil was allocated for this purpose, which was expected to benefit 35,000 university and college students from families with a monthly household income of RM1,500 and below.

The book voucher initiative will be managed by Yayasan Sarawak.

Abang Johari said the new initiatives were part of efforts to mitigate cost-of-living pressures faced by low- and middle-income groups, especially in the cost of education.

He said the state government would continue to provide funding for three existing student assistance schemes under Yayasan Sarawak.

This includes increasing the allocation for the free tuition programme from RM10mil to RM15mil and an additional grant of RM2mil for the school uniform assistance programme.

A special grant of RM6mil will also be allocated to Yayasan Sarawak to top up the existing allocation of RM3mil for enhancing its local scholarship programme by doubling the existing amount of assistance per student from RM400 to RM800.

"I am very hopeful that through these initiatives, our students will continue to excel in their studies and help those who need a leg up in progressing to their next stage in life," Abang Johari said.

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