KUCHING, OCT 28: A Sarawak opposition leader has questioned whether the budget reading will translate into actual money given out to intended parties.
State PKR chairman Baru Bian noted that allocations had been announced over the years to fix dilapidated schools in the state but the situation seems to have gotten worse.
“This raises the question, how much of those allocations were actually approved and disbursed? Making allocations is well and good, but the government needs to cough up the hard cash,” he said in a statement on Budget 2018 yesterday.
It was stated in the most recent Education Blueprint that by December 2013, all 1,608 schools requiring critical repairs would be fixed and that these repairs would start in Sabah and Sarawak, the number of dilapidated schools in Sarawak being 800 at that time.
In 2014, the federal government also announced an additional budget of RM1 billion to repair dilapidated schools. Currently, there are 1,020 dilapidated schools in the state.
Baru also questioned how many promises made to allocate funds for schools during state elections were actually fulfilled. These promises were announced by either Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak or Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, and include:
– RM1 million (PM) for SK St Lawrence, Sri Aman
– RM500,000 (DPM) for SM Riam
– RM500,000 (DPM) for SK Pujut Corner
– RM500,000 (DPM) for SM Pei Min
– Unspecified (PM) for SK Long Laput
– Unspecified (PM) for SMK Matu upgrade
– RM300,000 (PM) for SJK Chung Hua Bau
– RM35 million (PM) for SMK Long Semadoh
Although Sarawak is said to get the biggest slice of the rural infrastructure development budget, Baru said more substantial allocation was needed for Sarawak to make better progress in catching up with the infrastructure in Peninsula Malaysia.
He said the allocation of RM2 billion for the construction of the Pan Borneo Highway will not be sufficient, considering that RM16 billion worth of contracts were awarded in December for the project in 11 packages, and the work on the various packages is being carried out simultaneously across Sarawak.
Baru said his sources had told him that payments had been delayed for work already done, and if the project is to be completed in 2022, then the federal government needs to allocate more funds to ensure that works on the various stretches carry on as scheduled. — DayakDaily