Sarawak confident diesel supply to 21 rural schools won’t be cut

Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg (seated centre) and Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Michael Manyin (seated first from left) at a press conference after the PBB Supreme Council meeting today.

KUCHING: Sarawak is confident that the education ministry will carry on providing diesel supply to 21 Chinese and mission schools in the state.

Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Michael Manyin said he had made an appeal to the education minister in regard to this matter yesterday.

“So far, the response is very positive and I doubt the federal government will stop providing diesel supply to these schools,” he said when met after the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Supreme Council meeting here today.

According to him, Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd, which is the sole supplier of fuel for schools, had last month informed the state Education Department that it was likely to stop providing diesel supply to 21 Chinese and mission schools in the state by March this year.

“Out of the 21 schools, five are Catholic mission schools, four are Chinese schools and the rest are Anglican and Methodist mission schools.

“If they stop supplying diesel to these 21 schools, then what will happen to the 1,500 pupils?

“Surely, they will be affected,” he said, adding that the cut-off might be due to the fact that these schools were considered “aided schools”.

“These are all government schools and not private schools,” he said.

Manyin also explained that more than 30 contractors were involved in providing diesel supply, from 2014 to 2016, to a total of 371 schools in Sarawak.

The cost of about RM1 billion was later taken over by Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd in 2017.

“The supplier (Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd) is currently facing a court case and I don’t know whether the federal government is going to terminate their contract or not.

“However, a proper agreement has been done and we cannot blame the supplier as the contract was given to them via proper channels,” he said.

Manyin also said he hoped to have the schools connected to the main electrical grid to replace the need for diesel to power electrical generators.

Earlier, Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg, in a press conference after the PBB meeting, also said the schools must receive a continuous supply of diesel to power their generators.

“Otherwise, an allocation must be provided so that these schools can be linked to the state power grid,” he said.