Thursday, June 27

Power-less school shocks rep

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The generator set panel at SK Kambug.

KUCHING: Puncak Borneo member of parliament Willie Mongin says he was shocked to discover SK Kambug near here is still using diesel-powered generator set although the surrounding areas have been enjoying 24-hour electricity supply.

He lamented that the school was only a stone’s throw away from the Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) electric line, yet it still relies on generator for power supply.

“Why use diesel-powered generator to supply electricity to the school when the Sesco power grid is so near?

“This is just one clear evidence of abuse of public fund by the previous Barisan Nasional government,” he told The Borneo Post yesterday.

Willie said the decision to use diesel-powered generator to supply electricity to a school that is so near to the power grid was simply unacceptable.

He said diesel-powered generator was supposed to be used only in schools in the rural heartlands of Sarawak where there was no power grid, whereas SK Kambug is only about 70 km from Kuching City. He alleged that the previous BN government’s appointed contractor was supplying about 2,000 litres of diesel per month at a price of RM4.50 per litre.

“This means the government is spending about RM9,000 per month on diesel alone. This is not inclusive of maintenance and operators’ charges.

“The total amount paid for power supply is very expensive compared to the connection charges and the monthly bills that the school would pay if it was connected to the 24-hour electric line,” he said.

The electricity pole and line just a stone’s throw away from SK Kambug.

It was reported previously by whistleblower site Sarawak Report that Jepak Holdings had been granted a solar/diesel hybrid project involving 369 schools in the state, but no solar panels were installed.

The online portal reported that former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had instructed the Education Ministry in January 2017 to appoint a company for the project involving schools in the rural heartlands of Sarawak.

To resolve the issue, Willie said he would write officially to the Minister of Education to stop this unnecessary public fund leakage caused by the previous government and ask for special allocation to connect the school to the available electric line.

He claimed that the connection plus wiring works would cost about RM20,000 while the electricity bill would be about RM100 a month depending on the school’s usage.

Jepak Holdings confirmed with The Borneo Post that 150 schools are ready to be connected to the power grid. However, formal agreement had not been drawn up.

SK Kambug, which offers hostel facilities, caters for primary and pre-schools pupils from six villages, namely Kampung Sapit, Kampung Kiding, Kampung Assum, Kampung Kakas, Kampung Kamas and Kampung Parang. It is one of the schools located within the Puncak Borneo parliamentary constituency.