Sarawak Plans To Offer Free Tertiary Education To Locals By 2026

"I can commit to 2026 because our economy will be stronger by then," said Sarawak Premier Abang Johari Openg.

Cover image via Berita Harian & Bernama

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Sarawak Premier Abang Johari Openg has announced that free tertiary education for Sarawakians at state-owned universities may be implemented by 2026

During the closing of the Pesta Benak Festival 2023 at Sri Aman waterfront, Abang Johari stated that he is confident of implementing the plan in three years' time given the state's economic prowess.

According to The Borneo Post, he mentioned that the state has gained a revenue of RM12 billion in 2022, and there are signs that it might exceed that figure this year.

"Based on my calculations for this year, maybe we can break our record from last year. This year may be better than 2022," he was quoted as saying.

"I can commit to 2026 because our economy will be stronger by then," he added.

Image via Berita Harian

The Sarawak Premier also said he has instructed the state's Ministry of Education, Innovation, and Talent Development (MEITD) to look into the possibility

"I have MEITD minister Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn and his deputy Datuk Dr Annuar Rapaee to study on providing free tertiary education to Sarawakians in our state-owned universities," he said, adding that he is confident to see the implementation will materialise by 2025 or 2026 under the 13th Malaysia Plan.

Currently, there are five state-owned universities, namely Swinburne University of Technology, Curtin University, University of Technology Sarawak (UTS), i-Cats University College, and Centre for Technology Excellence Sarawak (Centexs).

According to Malaysia Now, Abang Johari intends to provide free higher education to ensure that more locals are capable of leveraging new technology for the advancement of the state.

He added that the remaining resources of the Sarawak Sovereign Wealth Future Fund will be directed towards funding the education of young Sarawakians

"We have our Sarawak Sovereign Wealth Future Fund, and the balance, we will focus on education for our young Sarawakians, as well as to strengthen our economy and develop infrastructure throughout the state," he said.

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