SIBU: Sarawak wants to be given the power to manage the RM1 billion allocation under Budget 2018 for the state to repair dilapidated schools to ensure the speedy delivery of the projects.
Assistant Minister of Education and Technological Research Dr Annuar Rapaee said this included all processes involving selection of schools, calling for tenders, awarding of contracts, as well as the type of construction methods used.
According to him, empowering the state to manage the allocation would prevent delays and leakages of funds.
“If the RM1 billion allocation is given to the state Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research to handle, it will prevent sticky situations such as that of SK Pulau Seduku in Sri Aman, where the main contractor is from the peninsula and sub-contracted to several contractors. The project was delayed and this created uneasiness among the parents there.
“To have better quality of building – the fund should be given solely to the state to manage and not at federal level,” he told thesundaypost yesterday.
Dr Annuar said the RM1 billion allocation is not enough to solve the problem of all the 1,020 dilapidated schools in Sarawak.
However, he said with the allocation the ministry would be able to address issues with Category 3 dilapidated schools (DS3) in particular.
He added that the focus would be on rural areas, which have been neglected.
Dr Annuar opined that the industrialised building system (IBS) method may not be suitable for Sarawak due to the state’s geography.
He explained that the supply of IBS materials from Peninsula Malaysia could result in issues with quality and delay in supply.
“IBS method if compared to the conventional ones is not lasting and that is why we prefer this allocation should be utilised on conventional methods of building,” he said.
He also asserted that other allocations from the federal government to Sarawak should be continued as the RM1 billion would be considered “additional funding”.
“This RM1 billion is not enough to solve the problem of 1,020 dilapidated schools in Sarawak. Therefore, (other allocations) should continue for the next few years until all these schools are dealt with in the five-year period.
“I am glad that all this while, our voice has been heard,” Dr Annuar said.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak tabled Budget 2018 in Parliament on Friday.