RM1 billion not enough


Minister: Budget allocation to repair 1020 critically dilapidated schools in the state far from sufficient

Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong

KUCHING: The RM1billion-allocation from the federal government, meant for two years, is far from enough to replace the critically dilapidated schools in Sarawak.

Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Michael Manyin said if Sarawak were to build everything up to the standard, it would probably need about RM4 billion.

“I have already discussed the matter with the state Public Works Department, which said that to build a new school using a new scope, we must have laboratories and boarding facilities. That would need more than RM20 million per school.

“RM1 billion is not much. We need more than that. According to our calculation, we will probably need RM3 billion to RM4 billion based on the 415 critically dilapidated schools  across Sarawak,” he told reporters after he officiated at the National Dual Training System (SLDN) convocation at BCCK here yesterday.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced last Friday that RM1 billion would be allocated to Sarawak to repair dilapidated schools.

Manyin said the allocation was nothing new because the state had been informed of the approved allocation during the final meeting with the Economic Planning Unit on Oct 9.

“In fact, we have been planning on how to spend that money for the past one month or so. So there is nothing new for us,” he said.

He said the state would continue to fight for more because  RM1 billion was not enough to repair the 1,020 dilapidated schools in Sarawak, including 415 critically dilapidated ones.

He added that RM1 billion could only build 40 to 50 schools to replace the critically dilapidated schools.

Asked if it’s possible for Sarawak to build schools in the rural areas using prefabricated Industrialised Building System (IBS), he said they would make an assessment on it.

“Yes, using IBS is very fast but for rural schools it can cost more because of transportation.

“The next thing we have to think of is maintenance. Probably, IBS maintenance can be very expensive later on,” he said.