‘RM725 mln for repair of dilapidated schools biggest in three years’


File photo shows a classroom in a dilapidated primary school in Sarawak.

SIBU: The RM725 million allocation for upgrading 50 dilapidated schools in Sabah and Sarawak under Budget 2021, surpasses the amount allocated by the federal government to Sarawak in the past three years, says Assistant Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dr Annuar Rapaee.

He recalled that under the then Barisan Nasional-led federal government, RM416 million was allocated in 2018 for Sarawak, and later in 2019, RM100 million under the Pakatan Harapan-led govt.

He, however, said there was no allocation for this year with the state government depending heavily on repayment of contra loan to repair dilapidated schools in Sarawak.

“I welcome the RM725 million allocation under Budget 2021 by the Perikatan Nasional-led federal government, for upgrading of 50 dilapidated schools in Sabah and Sarawak.

“Although the sum is not much, it is a move in the right direction to resolve the issue of dilapidated schools in both states.

“Thus, I would like to thank the Ministry of Finance and the federal government for the bigger allocation under Budget 2021 for Sabah and Sarawak,” said Dr Annuar, who is also Assistant Minister of Local Government and Housing, when asked to comment on the budget for the education sector.

Touching on the RM800 million for servicing and repairing of government schools and government-aided schools, Dr Annuar reckoned this was more for schools categorised as ‘less dilapidated’.

The Nangka assemblyman suggested for project delivery partner (PDP) with the private sector as an alternative means to repair dilapidated schools in Sarawak

“As it is now, with the repayment of contra loan as well as the state government helping by allocating above and over the annual budget to resolve the issue of dilapidated schools in Sarawak, perhaps we can adopt a different approach by engaging the private sector to tackle this issue.

“Such method may be costly in the long-term, but it will go a long way to benefit students and teachers by providing a more conducive learning and teaching environment,” he said.

He added that at least another RM3.235 billion is needed to repair the remaining 647 dilapidated schools in Sarawak.

He said 373 from the total 1,020 dilapidated schools in the state had been repaired thus far.