Sarawak school repairs stalled as education ministry waits for Guan Eng’s directive

Sarawak says it is unable to start repairing dilapidated schools even though it has repaid the federal government RM350 million. (Bernama pic)

KUCHING: The Sarawak government has paid RM350 million to Putrajaya as part of the RM1 billion loan repayment so that dilapidated schools in the state can be repaired but it seems unlikely that the project will commence any time soon.

Sarawak Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Michael Manyin had earlier said the state Public Works Department had suggested that the repair work should start with at least five schools this month.

Sarawak Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Michael Manyin.

However, at a press conference today, Manyin said that when he brought up the matter during a meeting with Education Minister Maszlee Malik last week, Maszlee told him they could not proceed until they received a directive from the finance ministry.

Manyin said the state government had already submitted the list of schools, which had been prioritised based on the severity of their condition, to the education ministry.

“The tender is not out because Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has not given the instruction yet,” he said.

Last month, Lim said the federal government was ready to disburse RM350 million to repair and upgrade dilapidated schools in Sarawak as soon as the state government repaid that amount, part of the federal government loan it had taken.

It was also reported that Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen had persuaded Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) to speed up the repayment of the RM350 million so that the repairs for dilapidated schools could commence.

Now that the Sarawak government had paid the money to Putrajaya, Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg had said he hoped the federal government would keep its promise.

“If they do not, then they are liars,” he said.