Abang Johari (centre), Mohd Bakke (left), and Dr Sim in a group photo with students after the official launch of MRSM Bintulu today.

BINTULU (Nov 1): The Sarawak government has spent about RM2.7 billion in the last three years to further strengthen education in the state, said Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.


He said the state government had to come up with its own initiative using its own funds without being too dependent on the federal government which is sometimes “too slow”.

“But for me it is a very beneficial investment because you are building the workforce for the future,” he said during the handing over and official launch of the Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) Junior Science College (MRSM) Bintulu today.

According to Abang Johari, not too far from the location of the MRSM here is a primary school, SK Ulu Segan, which was relocated, rebuilt and fully funded by the Sarawak government.

“Sarawak under my leadership and my friends – we think this is an important investment for us to produce Sarawak talents who are capable in the development that has changed.

“This is the ‘ketek’ (internet) era, just ketek if you want to find a solution to your problem.

“This is the world’s today and we must train our children who are great in this field.

“Meaning technology is important, we want to produce local talents who are skilled in technology, when our economy increases we emphasise on technology, we have human capital that can use technology,” he said.

He said that is why, under his leadership, he had come up with a new economy based on science and technology such as digital economy, green economy, hydrogen production and microalgae cultivation and many more.

“We have an advantage especially when the world is dealing with climate change because based on a study, we are negative in carbon emission, we still have forests, rivers, rainwater, sun, everything is enough, all we need is science, how to make use of these resources.

“This happens because we have a command of a science subject,” he said.

Abang Johari said knowledge must be explored to the fullest and he hoped the MRSM Bintulu could play a significant role in producing high quality human capital and be able to develop local talents for the future.

He said the United States (US) was developed by a group of communities who migrated from various places and they developed because of these talents.

“This is a lesson for us in Malaysia and Sarawak, don’t get stuck here, let’s be broad-minded,” he stressed.

He pointed out that Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) is very important, and he had informed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to equip Sarawak’s rural and urban schools with STEM laboratories.

“Now rural schools do not have laboratories, only science schools, non-science schools do not have laboratories. Our children must be exposed to a practical laboratory,” he said.

With the establishment of MRSM Bintulu, Abang Johari hoped local students, especially in Bintulu, would have the opportunity to further their studies and meet the needs of future industries.

He also thanked Petronas for their commitment in the project towards empowering education in Sarawak.

“Yayasan Sarawak is only providing land, if not enough, there is more land if Petronas wants to build their branch university here, anytime, there is a land for you,” he said.

The construction of the college began in 2018, and it is a collaborative effort between Petronas and the Sarawak government through Yayasan Sarawak and Mara.

Abang Johari officiated at the ground-breaking ceremony of the RM122 million project in October 2017.

Covering 22,000 square metres, MRSM Bintulu with a capacity of 450 students consists of academic blocks, resource centre, hostels, administration building, student centre, dining hall, multi-purpose hall, pavilion, surau, living quarters for teachers and staff and ancillary building.

It was the fourth MRSM in Sarawak in addition to MRSM Kuching, Betong and Mukah.

Also present at the event were Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Dr Sim Kui Hian, Sarawak State Legislative Assembly speaker Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar, Petronas chairman Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh, Deputy Minister of Rural and Regional Development Datuk Rubiah Wang and other cabinet ministers and deputy ministers.