KUCHING: The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government’s U-turn on the RM1 billion loan contra formula to address Sarawak’s dilapidated schools issue shows that the federal government does not believe in the state government.
In expressing this view, Batang Sadong MP Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said such decision should not have happened because Sarawak has always cooperated with the federal government for the benefit of the people.
“We regret that the federal government has decided to make another U-turn and it appears that they are playing another game with us,” she remarked.
She was commenting on Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong’s revelation on Monday that the federal government had rejected the loan contra formula and insisted that the RM1 billion be solely taken as ‘advance payment’ to the federal government on loans owed by the state.
Nancy pointed out that Sarawak has always respected the federal government for practising a federalism system. In view of this, she stressed that it is imperative that both governments work together and trust one another for the well-being of the people in Sarawak.
The former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department acknowledged that it is the responsibility of every state government to pay back their debt to the federal government in terms of infrastructure development.
But in the case of repairing or rebuilding dilapidated schools in Sarawak, which had not been done for a long time, she said this would no doubt require a substantial amount of money.
“We hope that the federal government will reconsider their decision and put their trust in Sarawak in handling issues regarding the state’s dilapidated schools,” she added.
The loan contra formula proposal was initially agreed between Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik during a meeting here in February.
Meanwhile, the Sarawak Bumiputera Teachers Union (KGBS) hopes that the federal contra loan formula for repairing dilapidated schools in the state can be continued for the benefit and welfare of the community.
Its president Ahmad Malie said the union is of the firm belief that the issue of education should not be politicised as doing so would only affect the students.
“In this regard, KGBS urges both the federal and state governments to take a resolution that favours the interest and welfare of community in the schools involved,” he said yesterday.
He said the union feels such action by the federal administration would only delay the redevelopment of dilapidated schools in Sarawak, and also disappoint educators, students and parents alike.