KUCHING: Two state assemblymen have expressed their disappointment with the delay of repairs of dilapidated schools in Sarawak.
Tasik Biru assemblyman Dato Henry Harry Jinep described reports that the Ministry of Finance (MOF) has yet to issue a directive on the project as “politically motivated”.
“This is indeed sad news if MOF didn’t keep their word. Dilapidated schools and education should not become political issues,” he told The Borneo Post today.
He said there should be some urgency to start with the repair works on affected schools so as not to demoralise students.
“Schools like SK Atas, SK Bobak Sejinjang, SK Segong, SK Skibang, SK Jagoi, to name a few, are in dire needs of repairs,” he said in respect his state constituency.
Tamin assemblyman Christopher Gira Sambang pointed out that schools with structural defects were not safe.
Those located in flood prone areas should be given top priority, he added.
“I wish to see schools in the 82 state constituencies benefiting from the budget. I hope the federal government will act immediately without further delay,” he said
“In regards to SK Nanga Selangau and SK Nanga Kua, the building structure of these schools are not safe and they are also frequently struck by floods,” he said in regards to the condition of run-down schools in his area.
Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong told a press conference yesterday here that the state needed a directive from the MOF before it can start with the repairs.
In July Manyin said he hoped repair works could start this month but a further delay will be experienced until the MOF issued a directive.
Work was initially delayed when the federal government demanded that RM350 million be paid first by the state government to them (federal government), being the first phase of the agreed RM1 billion repayment of Sarawak’s RM2.4 billion debt.
The federal government has since agreed that on the basis of a contra loan deal, RM1 billion be used by the state government to finance the repair works.
Now that the RM350 million settlement of the debt has been paid to the federal government, Manyin said he was hoping repairs on the first batch of 37 out of 415 dilapidated schools in Sarawak would start after getting the directive from the ministry.
He also said the five most run-down schools in Sarawak would be given top priority.