RM50,000 allocation to upgrade Sabah school not an issue, says minister

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Mohamaddin Ketapi says the assistance is for the students, who are not eligible to vote yet.

KIMANIS: The announcement on the RM50,000 allocation for Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Bongawan ll near here yesterday should not be made an issue, said Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Mohamaddin Ketapi.

He said the announcement, made at the launch of Jelajah Cuti Cuti Malaysia in conjunction with Visit Malaysia 2020 (VM2020) at the school, followed an open request for assistance from Papar district officer Ghulam Rasul Hapil to enable SMK Bongawan II facilities to be upgraded.

“The RM50,000 allocation was only announced and will not be acquired today.

“I had clearly told the school principal to write and submit the letter and I will approve the allocation.

“It’s a minister’s allocation.

“I don’t see any problem as we are giving this assistance to the school for the students, and they are not eligible to vote yet,” he told a press conference after the VM2020 Jelajah Cuti Cuti Malaysia launch last night.

He was confident the matter was not in violation of the Election Offences Act 1954 because the provision was for schools and not to buy votes.

“We are sympathetic to the needs of schools that want the hall or field to be upgraded. The schools are for children to get an education. That is our priority,” he said while hoping that the matter would not be misunderstood.

The Kimanis parliamentary by-election on Jan 18 will see a straight fight between Karim Bujang of Warisan and BN candidate Mohamad Alamin. Kimanis has two constituencies, Bongawan and Membakut.