MIRI: More than 40 primary and secondary schools here and in Limbang division have been hit by diesel shortage – some over 10 days ago – as the appointed contractor has fallen behind in stocking up fuel tanks.
Reliable sources told The Borneo Post the SMK Tutoh Apoh and SMK Temenggong Datuk Lawai Jau, both in Baram, have been left in darkness for more than 10 days while a further 28 primary schools in Baram have also been similarly affected.
Schools in Lawas are also said to have suffered a similar fate, including SK Long Luping, SK Ba Kelalan and SK Long Tengoa, after their fuel supply ran out last week.
Although students are now enjoying their mid-year holidays from June 8 to June 23, the schools themselves remain operational as administrative staffers still turn up for work and are in need of power and water supply – both of which require fuel to run the generator set.
“Without fuel, you cannot run the generators to power the electrical appliances and the school water supply system,” said the source.
The schools, added the source, are desperately hoping for their supply of diesel to be replenished to avoid a similar incident in 2017, when the new school session for 369 rural schools were disrupted as there was no fuel for the generators to power up fans, lighting, computers and other appliances.
These schools need an average of 5,000 litres of diesel each per month. However, there are 10 larger schools that require 15,000 litres each per month – divided into two deliveries a month.
SMK Temenggong Datuk Lawai Jau in Long San, upper Baram has about 800 students while SMK Tutoh Apoh is in Long Panai, central Baram. Both are located in the Telang Usan district.
The district education officer could not be contacted for comment on the issue, but The Borneo Post has learnt that a police report has been lodged by the Ministry of Education in Putrajaya on the matter two days ago for investigation to be carried out.