MIRI, July 7: Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Secretary General Datuk Sebastian Ting expresses his disappointment over Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s recent statement of demanding Sarawak to repay RM1 billion first, before the Federal Government releasing the fund to repair dilapidated schools in Sarawak.
“It’s a shame and disappointing that one year after GE14 (the 14th General Election) and with the change of a new government, we have a finance minister who only cares more in politicking than carrying out his duties as a finance minister to solve federal matters and people’s needs in Sarawak.
“I would like to remind our Sarawakians that education and dilapidated schools are all matters under the federal purview, not the Sarawak Government.
“Yet our finance minister offers no solutions to the repair of the dilapidated schools in Sarawak. Instead, he opts to play politics to further delay our Sarawak government’s offer in helping the federal government to repairs the schools,” said Ting in a press statement today.
This showed that the finance minister seemed to have forgotten the fact that he is a finance minister for all, not only for Pakatan Harapan.
The Piasau Assemblyman thus expressed support for Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s statement reminding Lim that Lim was no longer in opposition and that Lim should not be making any political statement while carrying out his duty as a finance minister, following Lim’s statement that Sarawak will go bankrupt within three years.
He was responding to the recent development over the RM1 billion loan contra issue. In the latest development, Sarawak Government and the Education Ministry had agreed to accept the RM1 billion loan repayment from Sarawak, which will be allocated for the repairs of dilapidated schools in the state.
However, the Finance Ministry issued a statement yesterday, stating four conditions for the agreement to take effect.
The Finance Ministry said with the Sarawak government owing the federal government a total of RM2.375 billion, the state would still owe the federal government RM1.375 billion after the RM1 billion repayment.
The ministry made it clear that the RM1 billion fund is actually federal government’s fund and subjected to four prescribed legal mechanisms:
First, the Sarawak government must repay RM1 billion from its total debt to the Federal Government Consolidated Fund, in line with the law and the Federal Constitution.
Secondly, the federal government will channel the same amount as allocation for projects to repair dilapidated schools in Sarawak.
Third, the repair works of the dilapidated schools in Sarawak should be offered by open tender to ensure transparency and fair value, based on the current federal government financial arrangements.
Fourth, the federal government is willing to take into account the views of the Sarawak government with regards to which schools should be given priority for repairs. — DayakDaily