Guan Eng under fire for playing politics with school repairs

Some schools are without electricity and treated water, others suffer from leaking roofs and broken facilities. (File pic)

KUCHING: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has come under fire for playing politics over allocating funds for carrying out repairs at dilapidated schools in Sarawak.

Jeniri Amir.

Political analyst Jeniri Amir of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak told FMT that education should be above politics as it concerns the future of the younger generation.

As finance minister, it was Lim’s responsibility to give priority to the people’s interests, especially Sarawakians.

“He is no longer an opposition leader. This problem had dragged on for too long. If he continues to play politics then surely the upgrade works (for the schools) will get delayed,” Jeniri said.

Francis Siah.

Francis Paul Siah, head of the Movement of Change Sarawak said the state and federal governments must put an end in dilly-dallying over school repairs.

“The people are fed-up with politicians on both sides who can never seem to agree on how to get the job done,” he said. “How much longer will it take to resolve the matter? It is time for both sides to act with urgency.”

Siah said the affected schools could not continue to operate with leaking roofs, broken windows, non-flushable toilets, insufficient tables and chairs for staff and students. Some schools are also without electricity and treated water, he said.

Lee Kuok Tiung

Political analyst Lee Kuok Tiung of Universiti Malaysia Sabah said the federal government should not treat the Sarawak government like a “beggar”.

He told FMT: “Maybe it’s time for Putrajaya to return the autonomy over education and health matters to the state.”

Last week, Sarawak state education minister Michael Manyin urged the finance ministry to speed up approval of a RM1 billion fund meant for dilapidated schools, to be deposited in a special account managed by the federal and state governments.

However, the finance ministry said the Sarawak government had yet to provide any official feedback on the proposed loan offer made in March. On Sunday, the state government was reported to have agreed in principle to four conditions set by the federal government.