Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew has approved an allocation of RM50,000 from her Assemblywoman's Fund to help expedite completion of the long overdue proposed Bantayan Girls' Hostel Complex at Kampung Bantayan in Tamparuli.
The hostel project costing RM2,255,617.45 is 97% completed as of 4 April this year.
It is a community initiative by the Rotary Club of Kota Kinabalu South in partnership with H.E.L.P Foundation (H.E.L.P stands for Help Eradicate Lasting Poverty).
Christina, who is also Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, gave the approval during a courtesy call by a seven-member delegation from the club and foundation seeking assistance from the ministry.
Despite numerous fund-raising campaigns such as gala charity dinners, charity golf tournaments and a charity bazaar over the years, not forgetting the donations of building materials by 10 companies and an individual, there is still a shortfall of RM161,383.24 for the hostel project.
When completed, the hostel complex will be handed over to the St Franciscan Sisters for management.
"Education is a subject close to my heart so I am setting aside RM50,000 from my Assemblywoman's Fund to ease the burden shouldered by the Rotary Club of Kota Kinabalu South. I am aware of the commendable community service projects carried out by the club and their counterparts in Sabah.
"I hope there is no more procrastination from now…do get the contractor to complete the project as soon as possible so that the girls can move in without further delay.
"I can't promise but I will try my best to get additional help if possible (in kind)," Christina assured the delegation led by club president Ken Lim.
Lim and Past Presidents Arthur Soo and Dr Ganesh enlightened the minister on the history of the project. Construction began in December 2015 after a delay of three years due to lack of funding.
Briefing Liew on outstanding works, graduate architect Jonathan Lee said it consists of painting, completion of door and sanitary-wares installation, and completion of electrical fittings for the administration and hostel blocks.
"Additional items include the final layer of roadworks, drainage and fencing works, incoming cables for electricity supply and street lighting as well as incoming water supply and fire hydrants," he said. Lee's father Ar. Lee Yik Soon designed the hostel.
Meanwhile, the chairman of H.E.L.P Foundation, Datuk John Sikayun said the project is made possible with the help of a local philanthropist, Tan Chong Yian who had donated a one-acre piece of land at Kg Bantayan to H.E.L.P Foundation.
"The formation of H.E.L.P Foundation was inspired by Tan Sri Richard Malanjum's concern for the well-being of poor children in rural areas, who genuinely need accommodation facilities to enable them to attend school," Sikayun said while thanking the minister for her contribution. Also present was the foundation's deputy chairman Datuk Alex Decena.