Sarawak minister defends CM over dilapidated school repairs

The Sarawak PWD is in charge of repairing dilapidated schools in the state.

KUCHING: Sarawak Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Michael Manyin has defended Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg’s statement that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government had failed to fulfil its agreement with the Sarawak government to repair dilapidated schools in the state.

“Not even one dilapidated school has been fixed using the first tranche of the RM350 million which was paid to the federal government on Aug 14 last year,” he said in a statement today.

Manyin said the state government was not involved in either determining the scope or the cost of the repair projects.

It was reported that Sarawak had paid RM700 million to Putrajaya in August 2019 and February this year as part of its RM1 billion loan repayment to Putrajaya.

Sarawak PH chairman Chong Chieng Jen had yesterday slammed Abang Johari for accusing the PH government of failing to repair the dilapidated schools in Sarawak.

He said Abang Johari should be asking the state Public Works Department (JKR) on the progress or delay in implementation of the school projects in Sarawak instead of making baseless accusations against the PH federal government.

Chong said tenders for work to begin on some of the schools had already been issued.

However, Manyin claimed Chong’s statement was misleading and did not provide the “true picture” of the issue.

“I would like to reiterate that the chief minister’s statement that ‘not a single school has been fixed’ under the contra deal is factually correct and is the truth.

“This fact is confirmed by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng that not a single school has been fixed,” he said in a statement today.

“It is clear that Chong has not consulted his boss (Guan Eng) before he made his statement.

“Abang Johari was given a comprehensive briefing on the progress of the project and the assertion by Chong that the chief minister has not consulted PWD is baseless and is merely an attempt by him to belittle him (Abang Johari) for cheap political mileage.

“Chong also has no locus standi to comment on the dilapidated school projects as he does not have detailed information regarding the projects.

“As the deputy minister for domestic trade and consumer affairs,  Chong should concentrate his efforts on addressing domestic trade issues such as the rising prices of essential items, which have burdened the rakyat, especially among the B40 group,” he said.