Wednesday, September 30

Manyin disputes Chong’s contention that CM’s statement was baseless

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KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg was right in saying that not a single school has been fixed under the contra deal with the federal government, says Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong.

Manyin said the Chief Minister had made a factually correct statement based on the comprehensive briefing on the progress of the RM1 billion repairs and upgrading of dilapidated schools project by Public Works Department (JKR) Sarawak on Feb 14.

He added that the fact that not a single school has been fixed under this contra deal was confirmed by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng in a statement published in many news portals yesterday.

“(Pakatan Harapan Sarawak and DAP Sarawak chairman) Chong Chieng Jen’s claim that Chief Minister has made his statement without consulting JKR Sarawak and his insinuation that Chief Minister was not telling the truth and ‘shooting blindly like an immature politician’ only reflects his (Chong) own arrogance and his own propensity to make statements without checking the facts.

“His boss (Lim Guan Eng) seems to be better informed than Chong,” said Manyin yesterday.

Manyin also said Chong, who is Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, appeared to be ‘holding too many portfolios’ and did not seem to know what he (Chong) himself was talking about.

“My press statement on February 15, 2020, and the subsequent statement by the Chief Minister on February 19, 2020,  were made with the information provided by JKR Sarawak during the briefing (on Feb 14). Hence, the assertion by Chong that the Chief Minister has not consulted JKR is baseless and is merely an attempt by him to belittle the Chief Minister for cheap political mileage.

“Chong has no locus-standi to comment on the dilapidated school projects as he does not have detail information regarding the projects.  As the Deputy Minister for Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, Chong should concentrate his effort on addressing domestic trade issues such rising prices of essential items which has burdened the rakyat especially the B40 group.

“When we compare the press statement by Chong with the press statement by Lim Guan Eng the Minister of Finance, it is clear that Chong has not consulted his boss before he made his statement,” said Manyin.

Manyin also stressed it was very clear that not even one dilapidated school has been fixed using the first tranche of the RM350 million which has been paid to Federal Government on August 14, 2019 (last year).

Based on the discussion between Ministry of Education (MOE), JKR Sarawak and Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research (MESTR) on the tendering of projects for 37 schools selected for the first tranche, he disclosed that projects for five schools were supposed to be tendered between August to October last year.

He added five other schools were to be tendered between August to October 2019, two schools to be tendered between October to November 2019, 17 schools were to be tendered in November 2019 and 13 schools to be tendered in December 2019.

He also pointed out the scope of work and cost for all these projects were prepared by Sarawak Education Department (JPNS) and was agreed to by MOE. Subsequently, MOE provided the scope and cost to JKR Malaysia for the implementation of the project (on Aug 6 last year).

“On August 15 2019, MOE issued another letter to JKR Malaysia for them to implement the 37 school projects and to ensure that the tender will be called by end of 2019.

“Tender for five schools were advertised on August 31 2019 and closed on September 23, 2019 for two schools and October 21, 2019 for the remaining three schools. The Federal Central Tender Board Sarawak met on November 6, 2019 for the first two schools and informed JKR Sarawak of their decision on the November 12, 2019.

“The other three schools were decided on Dec 18t,  2019 and JKR Sarawak were informed a week later. Meanwhile, tender for one school namely SK Grogo, Bau was advertised on Oct 8,  2019 and closed on Nov 18, 2019,” he said.

He also said JKR Sarawak made a request for ‘Surat Penurunan Kuasa’ (authority to sign contract) from Minister of Works (Baru Bian) for the two schools namely SK Abang Amin, Meradong and SK Abun Matu, Belaga on Nov 13, 2019 and approval was received on Dec 30, 2019.

Letter of Award to the contractors were issued on January 14 this year for the two schools namely SK Abang Amin, Meradong and SK Abun Matu, Belaga, and handing over of sites for both schools were done on  Feb 13.

Manyin added authority to sign contract letters from the Minister of Works for the other four schools were received on Feb 7 this year, while Letter of Awards for these schools were issued the following week and scheduled to be handed over on  March 13.

“Fifteen schools from the remaining 31 schools have been tendered and are still awaiting Federal Central Tender Board Sarawak’s decision. The other sixteen schools were still pending due to the decision of MOF to review of scope and cost.

“From the above information, it is very clear that not even one dilapidated school has been fixed using the first tranche of the RM350 million,” said Manyin.