Chong: Did state government do enough for dilapidated schools?

Chong Chieng Jen

KUCHING, Aug 30: If the Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) government, now known as the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government, truly prioritised resolving the problem of dilapidated schools in Sarawak, the number of affected schools would not have grown to more than 1,000.

Highlighting this, Pakatan Harapan (PH) Sarawak Chairman Chong Chieng Jen has in a press release today, refuted Petrajaya MP Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof’s claim that GPS has always prioritised and been concerned about the issue of dilapidated schools and welfare of rural school children.

“The sheer number of more than 1,000 dilapidated schools in Sarawak speaks volume of how much the previous Sarawak BN government neglected the upkeep of these schools and the welfare of those school-going children,” he alleged.

“Had the GPS, under its former BN government who has governed Sarawak for more than four decades, been more concerned about the welfare of rural Sarawakian children, it would have sounded the alarm when the number of dilapidated schools reached 500,” he said.

“Yet, the GPS government allowed the number to grow to more than 1000,” he added.

Fadillah had yesterday lashed out on Chong for not speaking our for Sarawak at the federal level despite being a member of the ruling federal government and instead only voiced out on trivial concerns or issues that have been politicised for his personal and party’s interests.

Chong, who is also Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, stressed that it did not give Fadillah any credence to constantly rely on the purported promise of RM1 billion for the repair of dilapidated schools by former prime minister Dato Sri Najib Tun Razak.

“Najib became the prime minister since 2009 and only talked about the RM1 billion repair fund in 2018,” he pointed out.

He thus questioned why Najib only promised to give the grant for the repair of dilapidated schools in Sarawak almost 10 years after he first became the prime minister.

“On the part of the new PH government, we will ensure that regular and sufficient funding to upgrade and refurbish the dilapidated schools will be granted to Sarawak every year,” he assured.

“As the implementation of the repair works will be carried out by the Sarawak state agency which is the Public Works Department (JKR) Sarawak, we hope the state government will put every single Ringgit allocated to good use,” he urged.

The federal government, he reiterated, will make sure that proper mechanism and supervision be implemented so as to prevent any misappropriation of the fund or part thereof.— DayakDaily