Indonesia urges Sabah to allow it to open secondary school

Ambassador says this will allow children of Indonesians working in Sabah to continue their education in the state instead of having to return home.


KOTA KINABALU: Indonesia is seeking permission from the Sabah government to be allowed to provide secondary education to children of its citizens working in the state.

Indonesian ambassador to Malaysia Rusdi Kirana said at present Indonesian children were only allowed to pursue primary education in the 227 community learning centres (CLC) throughout Sabah.

“Once they reach 12, these children will have to return to Indonesia to finish their education.

“I think this is not a good strategy because they would have to fend for themselves without their parents who are working here in Sabah,” he said after attending a meet-and-greet session with Indonesian citizens here today.

Rusdi acknowledged the generosity of the state government in allowing the establishment of so many CLCs that provided education to Indonesian citizens.

Sabah is the only state in the country that allows the setting up of these schools, which are fully-funded by the Indonesian government.

“I hope the number can be increased so we can accommodate secondary education. It is a basic human right.” he said, adding that failure to educate them would result in them becoming like “time bombs”.

“Maybe one day, they will become Malaysian citizens, or Indonesian citizens, or American citizens, who knows? That is their right. But it is our obligation to educate them.”

Rusdi said these children should be allowed to finish and pass their Sekolah Menengah Atas (SMA) secondary education before having to return to Indonesia.

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By that time, he said they would already be 17 years old and would be able to take care of themselves or look for gainful employment.

“We are currently asking them to go home but their parents are here. A 12-year-old cannot look after himself. Please do not separate them from their parents.

“In the end, this is about humanity, not nationality or even a business decision.

“Parents will not be able to work properly if they are constantly worrying about their children. As a consequence, businesses will suffer too.”

Rusdi said the state government would not be financially burdened by the secondary schools as the Indonesian government would fund the purchase of school materials and provide the teachers.

“The only thing we are lacking is state permission,” he said.

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Bahagian pelancongan nusantara merupakan salah satu sektor yang utama dalam ekonomi Malaysia. Sehingga saat ini, sektor pelancongan merupakan sektor kelima terbesar negara selepas sektor perkhidmatan kewangan, kelapa sawit, borong dan runcit, gas dan tenaga, dan petroleum dengan menyumbang sebanyak RM36.9 bilion kepada Keluaran Negara Kasar (KNK).

Namun begitu pada peringkat awal selepas pasca kemerdekaan Malaysia, kerajaan tidak memberi penekanan kepada sektor pelancongan. Kerajaan pada ketika itu lebih memberi tumpuan kepada pembangunan infrastruktur negara dan melawan ancaman communism. Selain itu, faktor ancaman dari luar seperti konfrantasi dengan negara jiran turut menjejaskan fokus kerajaan pada ketika itu. Ia serta merta melambatkan pekembangan sektor pelancongan di Malaysia.

Pada era masa 1960, sektor pelancongan masih belum memainkan peranan yang penting terhadap perkembangan ekonomi Malaysia. Kerajaan pada waktu itu memberi tumpuan kepada sektor hasil bumi seperti bijih timah dan getah. Sektor hasil alam tersebut telah menyumbang sebanyak 45% kepada keluaran Negara kasar (KNK) pada tahun 1970.