KUCHING: The indecision by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) on appointing a project implementer is now delaying the rebuilding and upgrading of dilapidated schools in Sarawak, although a total RM700 million has already been paid in two tranches for this purpose.
Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong said work has not started even though it had been over five months since the Sarawak government paid the first tranche of RM350 million out of the RM1 billion contra loan payment to the federal government so that the money can be used for school repairs and upgrades in the state.
Since Sarawak government already paid the second tranche of RM350 million to the MoF on February 7 this year, he hoped this matter could be solved as soon as possible so that the projects can finally commence.
“Work has not started at all, not even in one school. The state is very disappointed and wants all parties to honour all the earlier decisions made between the state and the federal government. We hope that JKR (Public Works Department) Sarawak can be appointed as the Implementing Agency, that all tendering will be done through the Federal Tender Board in Sarawak, and that only contractors that are based in Sarawak are awarded these jobs.
“If JKR Malaysia has to be appointed as the Implementing Agency, we hope that JKR Malaysia can give JKR Sarawak a blanket authorisation to issue letters of acceptance and to sign contract for all the rebuilding or upgrading projects under this RM 1 billion initiative. This will help to expedite the process and alleviate the long suffering that our students and teachers have endured.
“Also, fund should also be given direct to JKR Sarawak for efficient management of the fund and speedy implementation of the project,” Manyin told reporters here today.
He pointed out Sarawak government has been honouring its promise to pay the RM1 billion in three tranches to the federal government.
He explained the first tranche of RM350 million was paid in August 2019 and was to be used to rebuild or upgrade 37 dilapidated schools.
Although the State Education Department and JKR Sarawak have already finalised the list of schools and the scope of work and were ready to tender these projects, he said the intervention of the MoF to review the scope as well as the list of schools has delayed the tendering process.
“There has been indecision on who is the project implementer. As per agreement of Federal and State government, Ministry of Finance appointed JKR Sarawak as the Project Implementer through its letter dated August 5, 2019. However a letter dated September 18, 2019 from JKR Malaysia appointed JKR Sarawak only as Assistant Project Manager.
“One month later, there was another letter from JKR Malaysia to inform that the appointment JKR Malaysia as the Project Implementer has been cancelled. On December 10, 2019, MOF issued instruction that JKR Malaysia is the Implementing Agency and that JKR Sarawak has been appointed only as Project Manager,” he said.
It has been previously reported that there are 1,020 dilapidated schools in Sarawak out of which 415 are critically dilapidated.
Under the arrangement with MoF, Sarawak government is to pay the third and final tranche of the contra loan repayment of RM300 million in June this year.
Sumber: The Borneo Post