Sarawak to contact Maszlee over purported ban on GPS lawmakers speaking in schools

Sulok Tawie

Sarawak Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong speaking to reporters in Kuching November 12, 2019. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, Nov 12 — State Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin today said he will seek clarification from his federal counterpart, Maszlee Malik, over an alleged move to bar Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) lawmakers from speaking at events held in schools in the state.

He said he understood that the unannounced ban was decided by the federal Cabinet.

“I hope to have the ban lifted because it is not fair for us who have financially contributed to the schools,” Manyin told reporters after his winding-up speech in the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly here.

He said in his case, he has contributed about RM1 million each to three schools in his Tebedu state constituency.

He said he understood that the GPS lawmakers may attend official functions in schools but not to give speeches.

Earlier, Manyin said the state government was waiting for a circular from the federal Education Ministry on the purported ban.

He said text messages the state Education Department sent to the GPS lawmakers regarding the purported ban were not considered official.

“We have to think very seriously on what is being written on the WhatsApp is that we are allowed to enter the schools, but we are not allowed to make speeches.

“We are most welcome to contribute to the schools,” he said when clarifying the concern raised by GPS Tasik Biru assemblyman Datuk Henry Harry Jinep in the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly here.

Jinep asked the minister to clarify if GPS lawmakers could still to contribute to schools using their funds under the Rural Transformation Projects and the Minor Rural Projects, in view of the ban from the federal government.

Jinep has said he has received a WhatsApp message from the Education Department telling him not to proceed with his official event at a school in his constituency.

Manyin said if there is a “tit for tat” between the GPS and Pakatan Harapan governments over this, the ultimate victims would be the students, teachers and Sarawakians.

“Probably that is what Pakatan wants, but we will not allow that to happen,” he said.

Other GPS assemblymen complained about the same thing while debating the state budget.

Among them was GPS Meradong representative Datuk Ding Kuong Hiing who said he channelled about RM5 million to schools in his constituency.

When DAP’s Bukit Assek assemblyman Irene Chang recalled the former Barisan Nasional government’s move to bar Pakatan Harapan lawmakers from schools, Manyin said he has no information about this as education was a federal matter.

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