NEWS & UPDATES
Sarawak Energy Inks MOU With Bakun Charitable Trust
State Power Company helps set up special education fund for Penan communities in Belaga
KUCHING, 29th OCTOBER 2015, THURSDAY: Sarawak Energy and Bakun Charitable Trust have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to provide further education support for Penan communities in the Belaga district, especially those directly affected by the newly completed Murum Hydroelectric Plant.
The MOU defines how a special education fund worth RM200,000 annually, parked under the Bakun Charitable Trust, will be utilised to support the particular education needs of the Penans. The initiative aims to further motivate young people from the community to strive for educational excellence.
The MOU was signed at Menara Sarawak Energy with Datuk Torstein Dale Sjotveit, Group Chief Executive Officer and Jiwari Abdullah, head of the Corporate Social Responsibility department signing for the energy developer and power provider.
Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing, Senior Minister and Chairman of Bakun Charitable Trust and Liwan Lagang, Assistant Minister of Culture and Heritage and Belaga Assemblyman signed for the trust.
The fund will be specifically used for the delivery of education support to the Penan communities in the Belaga District including the seven resettled villages affected by Murum HEP and leverages on Bakun Charitable Trust’s experience, expertise and resources
The beneficiaries will be residents of the 6 Penan villages and sole Kenyah Badeng village from Murum Resettlement and another 19 Penan communities from throughout the Belaga District.
At the signing ceremony, Torstein said “Education and young people is one of the main thrusts of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy as we recognise the importance of education in advancing social and economic development. In our aim to support the government in the state’s economic growth by driving the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy, we want to make sure communities affected by our projects benefit in a sustainable manner.”
Torstein represents Sarawak Energy on a committee especially set up to manage the fund which will focus on ways to continuously improve enrolment and attendance rates, academic performance, counselling, motivation and outreach programmes for students, teachers as well as parents. Views from the Penan community via the Murum Penan Development Committee will be incorporated.
Other members of the committee include Assistant Minister of Culture and Heritage and Belaga State Assemblyman Liwan Lagang, Hulu Rajang Member of Parliament Datuk Wilson Ugak Kumbong, Belaga District Officer Abdul Halim Abdullah and Belaga Education Officer Henry Usat Bit.
The fund of RM200,000, replenished annually, will be utilised for the following programmes;
- Academic Incentive Award for students in primary and secondary schools
- Financial Aid for students pursuing:
- Certificate / Diploma in training at approved skills development centres or institutions of higher learning in Malaysia
- Diploma / Degree programme at approved institutions of higher learning in Malaysia
- Funding for any other educational development programme or provision of teaching and learning facilities as deemed necessary as agreed by the committee.
Sarawak Energy has been actively supporting the education initiatives of the affected communities in Murum. This includes working with the Ministry of Education to set up two primary schools in Tegulang and Metalun Resettlements. This has led to a significant increase in enrolment rate amongst primary school children from the community by four folds compared to before resettlement. Sarawak Energy also provides assistance such as transportation to school, uniforms, shoes, school bags, exercise books, stationeries and sports equipment.
The power company narrowed the literacy gap among Penan adults through the Murum Penan Literacy Programme. The award winning programme has enabled some 400 adults to undertake basic reading, writing and arithmetic as part of their transition into mainstream development. This programme has expanded to stage three which encompasses personal development, hygiene, nutrition and health, essential living skills such as simple accounting, home economy and parenting workshops.
Other than the contribution to the Bakun Charitable Trust, Sarawak Energy has an annual scholarship programme which is open to all Sarawakians. The scholarship programme aims to complement the state government’s efforts to ensure sufficient local manpower for SCORE. Sarawak Energy also actively supports university students for research and development projects.