Committee hopes to get land alienated for schools after CNY

Dato Richard Wee

KUCHING: Chairman of the Committee Management of Kuching Chung Hua Middle School No. 1, 3 & 4 Dato Richard Wee revealed that they are looking forward to the alienation of land to the Chinese schools in Sarawak as agreed by the state government, after the Chinese New Year.

“After Chinese New Year, they will finalise it. We have identified a piece of land,” he told The Borneo Post at his office yesterday.

On a related issue, Wee said he was thankful that the state government continued to support the Chinese schools in Sarawak with an annual allocation of between RM6 million and RM7 million.

“We have received an understanding from the Chief Minster that such special assistance will continue to be given until we are able to have our own land and generate revenue from it,” he said.

Wee said the 14 Chinese secondary schools in Sarawak would need at least between RM10 and RM12 million a year to run them.

“We still have to look for the remaining amount to run these schools but with this allocation we are very much relieved,” he said, adding that among these 14 schools, five are located in Kuching; five in Sibu; two in Miri and one in Bintulu and Sarikei.

He reiterated that even though these schools are considered private schools, they cannot charge students like other private schools as the main reason for them to be set up is to provide education and not to make money.

“So, every school will try to raise money on their own to cover the difference. This is because we have to pay the teachers and we also have to make adjustments for their salaries otherwise it is hard to try to persuade them to stay. And annually we also have to give them angpow as well,” he said, adding that teachers in these Chinese schools were getting much lower salaries compared to government teachers and teachers in private schools and colleges.

Wee was also worried that many of the teachers from these schools were being pinched by private schools.

“We have to do something about this. Otherwise ‘susah lo’ … so we will need to do some adjustments especially for those who have been with us for more than five years,” he said.

Wee reckoned that there are some 900 teachers teaching in these 14 Chinese secondary schools.

Meanwhile, Wee advised parents to send their children to Chinese schools in the view that China will be the next world power in the next decade.

“They will also learn English. But if you are able to speak their language it will make it comfortable for you to interact with them. So to me, Mandarin has economic value, apart from knowing Chinese history and civilisation.

“But my advice is knowing more language is always an advantage. Say for instance, if you go to the United States and you can speak Spanish, the Americans will salute you. What I mean is that if you are multi lingual, you have higher economic value for people to employ you,” he pointed out.

Wee was glad to note that many Sarawakians are able to master English, Malay and Mandarin well as it would provide them the advantage to advance in their careers.