New Facility Improves Access to Education in Remote Island
KUDAT, 19 October 2019 – The days of trekking through the jungle or riding boats to attend school are now over for the pupils of Sekolah Kebangsaan Balambangan Banggi, 42km north of here, with the completion of a hostel, funded by PETRONAS, in the remote island.
The construction of the RM5 million Asrama Harian Luar Bandar (AHLB), located within the school compound, was completed last month and is now ready to receive its first batch of pupils. It will provide the pupils with a place to stay during the school week, effectively addressing key challenges faced by them in attending school.
“PETRONAS is committed to contributing to human capital development, and has supported a wide range of initiatives in the state that have benefitted more than 6,000 Sabahan students since 2003. The completion of this facility exemplifies our support of the government’s efforts to improve access to education among Sabahan students,” PETRONAS President and Group Chief Executive Officer Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin said at the hostel’s handing over ceremony today, officiated by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Mohd Shafie Apdal.
The hostel consists of two accommodation blocks, with 60 beds each for male and female pupils. Other facilities include a dining hall, a surau and a warden’s office. This facility will help overcome the challenges faced by pupils of the island who had to walk for hours or ride boats in rough seas to go to school.
The project, which began construction last year, was managed by KLCC Projeks Services Sdn Bhd, working together with Sabahan contractors and consultants. The hostel also received additional support from Yayasan PETRONAS, as well as from PETRONITA, the association for wives and female staff of PETRONAS, in the provision of furniture and other equipment.
Pupils of SK Balambangan Banggi are mostly from three villages on the island, with Kampung Selamat being the nearest to the school.
The others are from Kampung Batu Sirih where boats are the only means of transportation and Kampung Kok Simpul where pupils need to trek through the jungle from as early as 5 am to make it to the school by 7 am. At times, they had to skip classes, especially during bad weather due to safety concerns.
The AHLB is one of two education infrastructure projects announced by PETRONAS in Sabah to improve access to education and deliver sustainable impact to Sabahan students. The other is the construction of a Maktab Rendah Sains MARA (MRSM) in collaboration with Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA), which will be able to accommodate 450 students and is expected to be completed in 2021.
PETRONAS has also invested in similar infrastructure projects in Sarawak, with the construction of an AHLB at SK Orang Kaya Muda Pekeri in Paloh, Sibu, as well as the Bintulu MRSM.
PETRONAS Sabah and Labuan
Group Strategic Communications