Tuesday, June 18

‘No’ to advance payment

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CM says Sarawak will not pay the RM1 billion to repair run-down schools first and be reimbursed later through annual allocation

Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg

BEKENU: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg says the Sarawak government will stand firm in rejecting request from Minister of Finance, Lim Guan Eng, to Sarawak to pay in advance RM1 billion allocation for repair of dilapidated schools to the ministry.

“He wants us to pay in advance, and the allocation for repairs of dilapidated schools would be based on the annual allocation, which we don’t agree as we want to pay according to what is delivered,” he said at the town hall session with youths here yesterday.

The chief minister said this was not what he had in mind when he proposed for Sarawak to come up with the RM1 billion to contra the federal loan to Sarawak which was agreed to by Minister of Education Dr Maszlee Malik earlier in their meeting.

The education minister will be returning to Sarawak to meet the chief minister end of this month.

Abang Johari said Sarawak would not compromise on the issue of education development, and the payment of federal loan record was impeccable.

“Our loan payment has always been on the dot and we don’t have any outstanding (instalment) payment all this while,” he said.

As such, the amount to expedite repairs of  run-down schools in Sarawak and the federal loan are two separate issues, with education the responsibility of the federal government.

Earlier, he defended the decision of GPS MPs to abstain from voting on the Constitution Bill( Amendment 2019), saying they did not oppose but abstained because the amendment did not come with restoration of Sarawak’s rights eroded over the years.

“It is the approach and refinement which fell short in the proposed amendment, and our MPs had to stand to defend our rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963, “ he said.