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UN envoy for global education to visit "neglected" Borneo

Picture shows Jambun with Rewcastle at Victoria Station
in London two days ago
LONDON: Soon the United Nation's global education envoy, Gordon Brown, the former British Prime Minister, may visit Borneo's states, learning first hand the issues affecting the natives there on access to school facilities and to higher education.

The condition of schools in the island, especially in Malaysia's Sabah and Sarawak and in all the four Kalimantan territories of Indonesia, had been brought to the UN's attention by NGOs and individuals who observed that Borneon children, particularly the natives, could have been neglected and overlooked at various levels of education issue.

Sabah political activist, Daniel John Jambun, who is in London canvassing support for Borneo causes, said he learned this new development from friends here including from the Borneo's ardent advocate, Clare Rewcastle, whom he met here. Rewcastle has been running the highly popular Radio Free Sarawak and the eye-opener online news portal Sarawak Report.

Jambun, who is also chairman of UK-based Borneo's Plight in Malaysia (BoPi MaFo), said in a statement issued from London that Brown's visit should take place as soon as he has adeqaute justification to see the "progress" of education in Borneo. He said Brown's office should be getting more reports and representations on education in Borneo.

"Certainly Borneo is a place that has the brightest and creative people with global potential but look what had happen to the island natives now. All that happened there had hampered every of our efforts to have a more educated population, as widespread as possible.

"There are real issues in Borneo, not only on education but on religious problems, environment as well as human rights. The international community and the UN should look into this and help hasten relief or else we will end up forever in backwater of the whole progressing region.

In fact on many fronts we in Sabah and Sarawak are worse than when we were still under British protection. Now the Borneo's natives are boiling for change..." said Jambun who is also State Reform Party's Sabah deputy chairman.

Brown, the former Labour prime minister, appointed to the unpaid role by Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general in July, is to help “galvanise support” for the UN’s global education scheme, which aims to give every child access to quality teaching.

Brown's effort is expected to launch a universal education programme in an effort to raise funding for two million new teachers for these children, part of a UN global effort in a campaign to meet the Millennium Development Goal for every child to be at school by the end of 2015.

Brown, who accompanied Ban Ki-moon in recent visit to Asia, has been reported to have said he hoped to emulate the successes of Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary General and former US President Bill Clinton, as special UN envoys for Syria and Haiti respectively.

Since leaving office in 2010, Brown has produced a series of reports on education in developing countries. "Ensuring that every child in the world has the opportunity to go to school and to learn is a longstanding passion of mine. Education breaks the cycle of poverty and unlocks better health and better job prospects," Brown had rightly put an observation.

Brown's appointment and keen in problematic regions would certainly be a welcome news to Borneo which like in all third countries had seen high percentage of dropout rate. It is beleived that more than 40% of the world's children missing out on education lived in "fragile states" or those affected by violence.

And acording to Brown, at present, only 2% of humanitarian aid goes into education.

Jambun meanwhile further alleged that in some areas, the very few that has had the opportunity to acces higher education in Sabah and Sarawak in the 1960's were the fortunate ones and some of them continued controlling the masses.

"They are in control of politics and are amassing wealth while the vast population were left to be marginalised and victimised by the political circumstances, ever since the colonial left.

"Really drastic steps needed to be taken to accelerate education development in Sabah and Sarawak. "Some native schoolchildren are still forced to walk for hours in jungles just to reach their school. This should not be the case anymore, but it still is the reality in Borneo," he alleged.

"Besides those in cities and urban areas, many of the school infrastructures in rural Sabah and Sarawak are dilapidated and in inadequate condition," Jambun claimed that even in near city areas like his place Inanam and Penampang, this shocking situation still exist!

"In some areas in Sabah and Sarawak there is no school whatsoever. The Federation leaders way of thinking must change when it comes to Borneo. This land is very vast and settlements are scattered, the authority should not simply take the Malayan's model for us," he added.

Another Borneo activist, Kanul Gindol, who is also in London for the past two weeks attending several conferences and doing a bibliographical research on Sabah, said that education is certainly one of the pressing issues that "sucked" Sabah and Sarawak into agreeing to co-found a new enlarged Federation in 1963.

"In fact 'education' was one that both pull and push factor for Sabah and Sarawak to Malaysia. They felt that they needed more educated local people to first gain self-determination before they could sit down with Malayan leaders to discuss about Malaysia.

"But at the same time, the Malayan leaders and the leaving British then, pledged that 'education' was easier and faster to access if both Sabah and Sarawak joined in a new Federation that had already shown rapid progress in Malaya, which gained its own independence earlier from the British in 1957," he said.

Gindol, who heads another UK-based NGO, Borneo Rights International [ BRI ], said he planned to be writing booklets based on his research when he comes back to Sabah next month.



  2. Wemust do something drastic and more eloquent than this.. Anyway this is a very good start for Sabah. Bravo ..!


    The concept failed even before its formation as Brunei did not want to "join" in the formation.

    Then is broke down with Singapore's separation from the unequal union.

    Then in practice Malaya broke the Malaysia Agreement and the 18/20 Points Agreement....

    So Malaysia is like a broken chamber pot.

    Why mend it? It will only continue to leak!

    Let us break the Malaysia colonialchains.

    Break free and be independent like Brunei and Singapore!

    No, they have not been invaded yet- so no scare mongering please.


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