KUCHING: The federal government is ready to disburse RM350 million to the Sarawak government to repair dilapidated schools in the state, but only after the latter pays back the same amount first, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.
In a statement yesterday, Lim said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had expressed his willingness to pay back RM350 million to Putrajaya in the near future, which is the first phase of the RM1-billion loan repayment.
“(With the RM350 million repayment) a number of issues can be finalised, such as the implementation schedule, list of schools and the tender process for the project.
“With the spirit of cooperation and sincerity of all parties, the Ministry of Finance is confident that the first phase of the school repair project in Sarawak will be implemented before the end of 2019,” he said.
He also reminded that the Sarawak government still owed Putrajaya RM2.352 billion as of June 30 this year, adding that the repayment of the RM1 billion would mean the debt to the federal government would stand at RM1.352 billion.
The federal government agreed in principle to accept the RM1 billion loan payment by the Sarawak government for the repair of dilapidated schools in the state, subject to four legal mechanisms which were agreed to by both sides.
The legal mechanisms
are that the Sarawak government must repay RM1 billion of its total debt into the federal government’s Consolidated Fund; the federal government will channel the same amount as repaid by the Sarawak government as an allocation for the use of the repair school in Sarawak; remedial works for schools in Sarawak should be offered through open tender; and the federal government will take into consideration the priority of the Sarawak government in determining the schools to be refurbished.