KOTA KINABALU: There are no plans by the state government to transform Sekolah Menengah Agama Negeri (SMAN) Toh Puan Hajah Rahman here into Sabah's first Islamic college – at least for the moment.
Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister, Datuk Ariffin Arif, said the government is currently focusing on efforts to upgrade dilapidated religious schools and build SMAN buildings in several districts.
"Once maintenance and upgrading works on the school buildings are done, then the government will focus on establishing an Islamic College," he said in response to Datuk Mohamad Alamin (BN-Bongawan), at the state assembly sitting today.
"In order to have the first Islamic College (in Sabah) that is economical, the government, through the State Islamic Affairs Department, views that SMAN Toh Puan Hajah Rahman needs to be upgraded (first)," he added.
Established in 1975 as the state's first religious school, Toh Puan Hajah Rahman has produced about 2,500 graduates, some of whom have become political leaders, doctors, academicians, and government officers.