Friday, October 18

End school repair shenanigans 

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Putrajaya told to do ‘reverse U-turn’ on RM1-bln contra loan deal, halt political games

Dennis (right) inspects the rotting platform for the water tanks  at SK Long Luteng, in this file photo.

MIRI: The federal government is urged to reverse its apparent U-turn on the initial decision to accept the RM1-billion contra loan from the Sarawak government to fix dilapidated schools, as the ultimate victims of the decision are rural students and staffers.

This was conveyed by Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau, who said schools in his constituency face problems that range from lack of living quarters for staff to rundown toilets, near-collapsing water tank platforms and many more.

“I am afraid that all these poor and under-developed schools in my rural constituency will continue to be victims of whatever political game is being played. It looks as though these schools will just have to live with what they have. What a big let-down!” he told The Borneo Post yesterday.

Based on his observation during visits to schools in his constituency, Dennis estimated that at least RM200 million is needed to relocate four flood-prone schools – SK Long Bemang, SK Long Luyang, SK Long Sobeng and SK Long Luteng – as well as to move SK Ubong Imang to a new site within the Regional Growth Centre (RGC) in Long Lama.

He said he was initially overjoyed when it was announced in February that an agreement had been reached between the Education Ministry and Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg on Putrajaya agreeing to accept RM1 billion in federal debt repayment from the Sarawak government, to fund the repair of dilapidated schools in the state.

However, following the disclosure by Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Michael Manyin earlier this week that the deal was now off, Dennis wants the federal government to make a ‘reverse U-turn’ and follow through with the initial agreement, saying it was the most viable solution in tackling the long-standing issue of rundown schools.

He also said that should Putrajaya stick to its decision to snub the agreement, the Sarawak government needs to consider making alternative plans regarding the issue.

“Once again, it is the Sarawak government who has to come up with a Plan B – just as when it had to undertake the various projects that were approved by the previous federal administration, but scrapped after last year’s general election.”