KUCHING: Pakatan Harapan (PH) Sarawak is demanding that the state government explain why it had allocated RM101 million for the rebuilding and upgrading of SK Ulu Segan in Bintulu and SK Maludam in Betong in the state budget.
Its chairman Chong Chieng Jen said RM53.76 million for the building of SK Ulu Segan which only has 270 students and RM48.2 million for SK Maludam in Betong which only has 347 students was “ridiculously high”.
“In 2018, in the name of upgrading rural schools, the state government provided in the Budget 2019 the rebuilding of the two schools which will be fully funded by the state.
“For SK Ulu Segan, Bintulu, the State Government approved a total budget of RM53,762,500 for the whole project. A sum of RM23,000,000 was allocated in the State Budget in 2019. A further sum of RM15,000,000 will be allocated in the year 2020. The remainder sum likely to be allocated in year 2021.
“For SK Maludam and Asrama Betong, the State Government approved a total budget of RM48,200,000 for the whole project. A sum of RM20,700,000 was allocated in the State Budget in 2019.
“A further sum of RM20,000,000 will be allocated in the year 2020. The remainder sum likely to be allocated in year 2021,” he said in a statement today.
Chong, who is Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, Stampin MP and Kota Sentosa assemblyman, said the total budget of RM101 million could be used for the repair, upgrade and rebuild of 12 schools of similar scale at RM8 million per school.
He alleged that the total budget for the two schools was 600 per cent over the reasonable costs of building schools.
“With the same amount spent, at least another 10 dilapidated schools can be repaired and rebuilt. However, instead of 12 dilapidated schools get rebuilt, only two got rebuilt.
“At this rate of budgeting and spending, no amount of resources and allocation will be sufficient to meet the need for the repair of dilapidated schools.
“That explains why after 55 years of BN (Barisan Nasional) rule, there are more than 1,000 dilapidated schools in Sarawak,” said Chong.
He said leaders of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) would be in for a big surprise if they think the Pakatan Harapan government would continue to let them spend the way they used to spend.
He said while the PH government was keen to repair and rebuild the dilapidated schools in Sarawak, it would not allow such projects to be turned into ‘automated teller machines (ATM)’ like in the past.