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Sarawak to offer free higher education by 2026, says Abang Jo

Abang Johari Openg said Sarawak is on course to record higher annual revenue than last year’s RM12 billion. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Sarawakians may be able to pursue free tertiary education at all state-owned universities by 2026, says Sarawak premier Abang Johari Openg.

Abang Johari said he was optimistic that the Sarawak government would be able to offer this benefit to Sarawakians in three years’ time given the state’s economic strength, The Borneo Post reported.

“I have asked (state) education, innovation and talent development minister Roland Sagah Wee Inn and his deputy Dr Annuar Rapaee to study how we can provide free tertiary education to Sarawakians in our state-owned universities,” he was quoted as saying.

“Based on this study, I believe that under the 13th Malaysia Plan, we will be able to give Sarawakians free tertiary education by 2025 or 2026.

“I can commit to 2026 because our economy will be stronger by then,” he said at the closing of Pesta Benak in Sri Aman.

Noting that Sarawak’s revenue of RM12 billion last year was the highest ever, Abang Johari said the state is on track to surpass it 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 said.

“We already have a sovereign (wealth) fund for our future, and the remainder will be used on education as well as to strengthen our economy and develop infrastructure throughout the state.”

It was previously reported that Sarawak is setting up a sovereign wealth fund with an initial amount of RM8 billion to strengthen the state’s financial sustainability.

The state government is aiming for the fund to commence in 2024.