Abang Johari speaking to reporters. – Photo by Roystein Emmor

KUCHING (Nov 9): The state government will allocate special assistance in the 2024 state budget for Sarawakian students from the lower income group in higher learning institutions.

In revealing this, Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said he is aware that many Sarawakian students who intend to further their studies have no financial means due to their parents’ income.

He pointed out that it is the state government’s intention to provide such learning tools assistance for those from low-income brackets.

He estimated that about 5,000 Sarawakian students would need such assistance, to acquire learning materials such as laptops and textbooks.

“We know that there are many things that students nowadays need to have, including laptops, and the price is quite high.

“I estimate that every year, there will be about 5,000 (Sarawakian) students that we need to provide assistance, especially from B40 (group).

“Students now need laptops. But for the B40 low income family, spending money to buy a laptop would need a huge amount of their money and it is not cheap.

“Apart from this, it is also about books – textbooks are quite expensive. We will provide textbook assistance to Sarawak students from IPTA and IPTS,” he said.

Abang Johari was speaking to reporters after launching the Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) Financial Literacy Special Exhibition here at the Borneo Cultures Museum today.

Asked if there will be other good news for the students in the upcoming state budget, Abang Johari said the matter would only be revealed in two weeks’ time.

“God willing, I will announce what I want to give to students in Sarawak in the next two weeks.

“And there are other initiatives that I will announce in the budget.

“That’s my hint. I will make a comprehensive announcement on our assistance for our students in Sarawak,” he said.

Earlier during the launching ceremony, Abang Johari said taking such bold measures is imperative in facilitating the Sarawak government moving towards providing free tertiary education policy.

According to him, the only way to increase household income in the state is through education and talent development.

“Indeed, we are in our policy towards providing free tertiary education  for our Sarawakian students. And we are heading towards that policy.

“So, in our budget for next year, we take into account the help we have to give to those studying at both private and public high learning institutions.

“That is why I arrived late just now because today I had a long discussion with the cabinet earlier, specifically on how we want to increase our family income and for the children of Sarawak.

“One of them is through talent development we increase the talent that our children have through knowledge,” he said.