KUCHING, Nov 29: Pakatan Harapan (PH) Sarawak has demanded answers from the Sarawak government over the “ridiculous” allocations for the rebuilding and upgrading of two primary schools – SK Ulu Segan, Bintulu and SK Maludam including Asrama Betong.
Its chairman Chong Chieng Jen pointed out that for SK Ulu Segan in Bintulu, the allocation was RM53.76 million while for SK Maludam and Asrama Betong were RM48.2 million.
“The state government must give Sarawakians a full explanation on how it comes up with the two ridiculously high budget for the rebuilding and upgrading of the two primary schools in Sarawak provided under the State Budget 2020,” he urged.
Chong, who is also Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Deputy Minister, said in 2018, in the name of upgrading rural schools, the state government provided in the Budget 2019 the rebuilding of the two schools which will be fully funded by the state.
For SK Ulu Segan, he revealed that the state government approved a total budget of RM53,762,500 for the whole project.
“A sum of RM23,000,000 was allocated in the State Budget in 2019. A further sum of RM15,000,000 will be allocated in the year 2020. The remainder sum likely to be allocated in year 2021,” he added.
For SK Maludam and Asrama Betong, Chong, who is also Kota Sentosa assemblyman, continued that the state government approved a total budget of RM48,200,000 for the whole project.
“A sum of RM20,700,000 was allocated in the State Budget in 2019. A further sum of RM20,000,000 will be allocated in the year 2020. The remainder sum likely to be allocated in year 2021.”
Chong pointed out that at present, SK Ulu Segan has 270 students while SK Maludam has 347 students.
“To budget RM53.76 million for the building of a school which only has 270 students or to budget RM48.2 million for a school which only has 347 students is unbelievable and too extravagant at best.
“The total budget of RM101 million can be used for the repair, upgrade and rebuild easily 12 schools of such scales, with the budget of RM8 million per school. In other words, it is 600 per cent over the reasonable costs of building schools,” he asserted.
To Chong, at this rate of budgeting and spending, no amount of resources and allocation will be sufficient to meet the need for the repairs of dilapidated schools and that also explained why after 55 years of BN’s (Barisan Nasional) rule, there were more than 1,000 dilapidated schools in Sarawak.
“If the GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) leaders are still of the mind that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government will continue to let them spend the way they used to spend, they will be in for a big surprise.
“While the PH government is keen to repair and rebuilt the dilapidated schools in Sarawak, the PH government will not allow such projects to be made by GPS as their ATM cash withdrawal machines as was in the past,” the Stampin MP stressed.