Clear the air on funds for run-down schools in Sarawak, Baru told

Putrajaya has allocated RM100 million for the repair of run-down schools in Sarawak. (Bernama pic)

KUCHING: A Sarawak assistant minister has urged Works Minister Baru Bian to clarify his recent announcement that at least one dilapidated school in each parliamentary constituency in the state will receive an allocation from Putrajaya.

Assistant Education and Technological Research Minister Annuar Rapaee asked if the allocation would be part of the RM100 million fund provided for the repair of schools in Sarawak.

“If it is, then it’s nothing new. If it’s over and above the RM100 million fund, then it’s good, but the way it’s been done is not right,” he told FMT.

He said anything that would benefit schools in Sarawak would be welcome, but added that the allocation might not be applicable for certain constituencies.

Annuar Rapaee.

“For example, I don’t think there are any dilapidated schools in the Bandar Kuching constituency.

“You are not addressing the issue correctly. We should be focusing on needs, and the schools in rural areas that are in critical shape.”

Batang Sadong MP Nancy Shukri praised Baru’s move to request allocations from Putrajaya but said the amount was still far less than what was given before.

She said even before Pakatan Harapan came into power, the allocation to maintain and repair dilapidated schools in the state had been given, and funds made available for more than one school per constituency.

“Likewise, there is more than one school being repaired and built, and I must thank the Sarawak government for allowing MPs and assemblymen to use our rural transformation project funds to build new school blocks.”

She urged Baru to ask for more allocations for the repair of more than one school per parliamentary constituency.

“Now that there has been so much talk about our dilapidated schools, why not grab this golden opportunity?” she asked.

“At least Baru has realised that even as a minister, one cannot bring all the money from the federal government to Sarawak. It was a common allegation against the previous government and former ministers that we did not do anything for Sarawak,” she added.

Following a recent meeting with the education ministry, Baru had said that at least one dilapidated school in each of Sarawak’s 31 parliamentary constituencies would receive allocations for repair, maintenance and development this year.

He added that the ministry would continue to provide such allocations each year.