KUCHING: The constant calls by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to expedite implementation of projects and rehabilitation of dilapidated schools in Sarawak proved his sincerity in fighting for Sarawak’s rights, says Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) chief parliamentary whip Dato’ Sri Fadillah Yusof.
He said the Sarawak government was even willing to abide by conditions imposed by the federal government, especially the Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng, for the implementation of repairs of dilapidated schools despite the fact that it is clearly enshrined in the constitution that education is the responsibility of the federal government.
He noted that the determination and sincerity of the Sarawak government can also be seen when it offered a RM1 billion repayment of its federal loan to ensure that the dilapidated school project in Sarawak can be implemented immediately, after the original allocation for Sarawak for the purpose approved by the previous government was withdrawn by the new government.
“The federal government subsequently imposed four conditions, including the contra payment of the state’s RM1 billion loan to the federal government, with the first payment of RM350 million, already paid by the state government.
“It is totally unreasonable for Sarawak Pakatan Harapan chairman Chong Chieng Jen to criticise the Sarawak government for not giving priority to dilapidated schools and in fact Chong’s statement is like “spitting in the sky”,” he said in a press statement issued yesterday.
The Petra Jaya Member of Parliament said the project to repair dilapidated schools in Sarawak was postponed after the 14th General Election when the original budget approved was discontinued.
“In this regard and when project after project that had been approved for Sarawak were discontinued, have Chong and PH Sarawak ever voiced their defence on Sarawak Right? Not at all,” he asked.
He said Chong would appeared to speak out on any issue for the sake of self and party, an act that seems to put themselves in opposition at the federal level.
For the record, he noted, the previous government had approved an allocation of RM2.5 billion to repair dilapidated schools for 2018 and 2019,
RM1 billion for Sabah and Sarawak, RM500 million for the Peninsula.
“In 2018 (before the General Election-14) the previous government had allocated RM419.05 million to build and rehabilitate the dilapidated schools in Sarawak.
“There is a balance of RM581 million allocations for Sarawak which is to be brought forward in 2019,” he added.
Meanwhile Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Youth deputy chairman Fazzrudin Abdul Rahman said he wished to remind Chong that after the PH took over the federal
government numerous federal people-centric projects were cancelled.
He said Chong, being a Sarawakian himself failed to defend Sarawak by keeping quiet over the cancellations.
“So what is in fact the role of federal government and you Chong?” he asked.
The Tupong assemblyman said Chong had forgotten that his political master Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had imposed the condition that the Sarawak government pay its federal loan installments to the PH federal government first as condition to start the repair works on rundown schools in Sarawak.
He said Chong also had forgotten that it was Lim who announced that Sarawak would be bankrupt in three years’ time.
“Therefore before you tell off our Sarawak Chief Minister is not better if you (Chong) criticise your ‘Boss’ first? Do you dare?” asked Fazzrudin.
He said Chong who should be fighting for Sarawak is now getting weaker due to suppression by his Malayan political masters.